Hurricanes that struck the country over the past few years have taught people to evacuate ahead of a hurricane’s arrival. Some of the residents of South Carolina prepared and evacuated their homes before Hurricane Florence hit them. And as the residents are gathering the valuables they would bring and save from the storm, Tony Alsup, a truck driver of Tennessee was busy salvaging what others cannot.
In every aftermath of a storm, one of the biggest victim are the defenseless animals who cannot save themselves. Being a compassionate man, Tony Alsup refuses to see anyone left behind during preparation for natural disasters. For this reason, Tony Alsup devised a plan to save the animals that he could.
In order to do this, the admirable man bought a bus and transformed it into a mobile animal shelter. This way, he could pick up all of the pets which the animal shelters and homeowners were unable to save before they evacuated in fear of the hurricanes.
Just recently, Tony traveled from Tennessee to South Carolina in order to save more than 60 animals. According to The Washington Post, the modern Noah was able to rescue 53 dogs and 11 cats when Hurricane Florence struck South Carolina.
“I’m like, look, these are lives too,” Tony shared in an interview. “Animals — especially shelter pets — they always have to take the back seat of the bus. But I’ll give them their own bus. If I have to I’ll pay for all the fuel, or even a boat, to get these dogs out of there.”
In the same interview, the respectable man shared that he was inspired to rescue animals during hurricane after seeing overcrowded animal shelters when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Witnessing such news in TV ignited his burning passion to save the poor animals. “I thought, well what can I do?” He recollected. “I’ll just go buy a bus.”
Since then, Tony Alpus has been transporting rescued animals to shelters that had enough space to accommodate the poor animals. His Noah’s bus was also able to rescue animals and braved the disdainful hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Tony’s dedication in saving all lives is very evident especially on the recent hurricane that struck South Carolina. On his Facebook account, Tony asked people to point him towards the direction in which pets needed help the most.
The Saint Frances Animal Center wrote a testimony that shows how Tony managed to save the ‘leftover’ animals.
“It’s all true. Tony swooped in at 4 a.m.Wednesday morning to pick up our ‘leftovers’ — the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heart worm… The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart.”
According to Tony Alsup, he cannot help but feel for the animals no one wanted to take. “It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Tony explained. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.”
Tony then headed to his friend’s shelter in Foley Alabama to get the rescued dogs into safety. There Angela Eib-Maddux, his friend, gave the animals a bath and fluffy blankets to keep them safe and warm.
Usually, animals would stay with Angela until she could find them a new place to call home. Sometimes, animals were adopted right on the spot.
In addition, Tony also brought the other dogs and cats he had rescued to Knoxville, Tennessee where he distributed 40 dogs and cats to animal accommodating shelters and volunteers.
Some would expect that Tony would rest and call it a day. Yet after regaining some of his lost energy, Tony rescued all the animals that he could in hope that no animals will be truly left behind.
Tony’s dedication and strong compassion in saving animals is truly a heartwarming and inspiring story. May Tony’s story remind each and everyone of us that we are responsible, not only for each others lives, but as well for the lives of the animals we are a steward of.
Photos | Tony Alsup