Carolina girl: Woolwich man returns from Florence's floodwaters with dog
“I know Flo, I know. I love you, too,” Woolwich's Brent Scott told the pit bull-mix licking his face Sunday on the back deck of parents Kathy and Aaron Scott's home on Old Stage Road.
“She was doing this day one.”
Day one was Sept. 16. Scott, 37, was driving through chest-deep floodwater in Lumberton, North Carolina, with friend Sam Woodman of Arrowsic. They had been going around to pet-friendly emergency shelters and hotels, dropping off pet food, leashes, bowls and litter. The donations collected around Maine happened after Scott had been closely following Hurricane Florence coverage.
He was going through a breakup. “And I was thinking I need to do something, get out of here for a little bit. That's how this happened.” In three and a half days, the dog lover and friends, business contacts and strangers pulled together a hurricane pet relief effort that entailed donations from people and businesses.
A News Center Maine TV news report helped spread the word, said Scott, who deals in office furniture in his job at Brooks Bargain in Portland. He and other volunteers headed south with goods that filled a 15-foot cargo trailer and the beds of two pickup trucks.
Scott and Woodman found Flo near two homes on dry land surrounded by floodwater. Scott said the people there said she wasn't theirs, they didn't know where she came from and they were going to leave her there. “She got up on a porch ... I walk up to her, and she started to flinch when I started to pet her, but all of a sudden she just started kissing my face. It was very emotional. I started crying. I still get teared up” thinking about it, he said.
She was soaking wet, Scott said. And it turned out she had a skin condition and two types of worms, he said. As of Sunday, three weeks to the day he picked her up and then got her to a vet, Flo, an estimated 3 years old, has gained about eight pounds.
She'll be getting spayed soon and Scott said he and Woodman are looking for a home for her. They will be very picky, he said, adding he hopes he would still get to visit her and have her play with his two dogs. The three are getting along very well, he said. At midday Sunday, they were running, playing, napping and, Flo especially, spending time with Scott. If interested in Flo, call Scott at 449-9674.
He said the name Flo was an easy choice due to the hurricane, plus he has a grandmother with that name, Florence Witham of Gardiner.
Does she know about Flo? “Oh yes. She has Facebook and she followed the trip.”
So did a Greenwich, Connecticut woman in a pet advocacy group. In a phone interview Sunday, PAWS of Greenwich founder Jessica Del Guercio recalled following the storm on social media and seeing a post of Scott's.
She then followed the journey online, found it really incredible, she said, and followed up with a trip she said his helped inspire. Two vans full of donations went south and Del Guercio returned with animals in need of homes. She said Scott is helping her find a rescue group to take one dog. The two didn't know each other before, but Del Guercio will be a friend for life, Scott said.
Del Guercio said, “It's a small world. Hurricanes can do chaotic things, but with the power of Facebook, they can also bring people together.”
His North Carolina experience has made Scott want to learn more about animal rescue, help groups that do it and later maybe start a nonprofit.