When It Rains, It Pours #HurricaneHarvey

I write this from our local La Quinta; we evacuated due to predicted flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Because of our proximity to the creek–and a drive across that creek is our only way out–we decided to leave while we could. In 2011, we stayed home for Tropical Storm Hermine then, after a foot of rain, the creek came up to the house. In the middle of the night, we put the cats in their carriers and the dogs on leash and prepared to hike up our hill–when the rain stopped. This time, with a dire forecast, we left.

We thought concern over the possible damage or loss of our home–and worry about relatives in a nursing home directly in the path of Harvey–would be the only worries on Friday but that was far from the case. Yesterday we had to have our 16-month-old kitten Ochi put to sleep due to cancer.

We are heartbroken.

In our numb state, we loaded up Tiki, Irie, Lucky and Inca (the first time the cats have been to a hotel) and checked in–to be met by a hotel full to capacity with evacuees from the coast.

The numbness we felt was mirrored in the faces of fellow guests, concerned for what they’ll return to in a few days. The Weather Channel is playing on televisions in all the hotel public areas. The hotel is filled with pets, far, far more than we usually see when traveling to pet-friendly hotels.

Throughout it all, one thing really stands out: In spite of what must be unimaginable worry on the part of so many of these guests who have family members who stayed at the coast (I have seen one woman on the phone trying to place a call and nervously pacing the dog walking area since late last night), everyone remains friendly. So many people have stopped to talk with Irie and Tiki, and everyone is cheerful about sharing crowded hallways and elevators with leashed dogs.

Many of our fellow guests are from our favorite beach destinations that we have enjoyed so many times with Irie and Tiki. As we watch the news coverage of the devastation, we recognize so many familiar locations, including ones in Port Lavaca where we stood less than a month ago. We also have spotted many destinations that we just covered in the new edition of our Day Trips from Houston guidebook, the manuscript for which we just finished answering final author queries five days ago.

We don’t know how long we’ll be at the hotel because reports continue to look bleak but we do know one thing: Texas will rebuild and will once again be a wonderful destination for travelers. We look forward to covering our home state in future guidebooks and articles. We know from years of covering the Caribbean that recovery from major hurricanes isn’t measured in weeks or months but in years–but it will come.



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About Paris Permenter & John Bigley

Paris Permenter and John Bigley are the award-winning authors of over 30 pet and travel books as well as the founders and publishers of CatTipper and DogTipper.

  • With everything going on and you had to lose Ochi too. I’m so sorry.

    Hope the water comes down soon and you can return home. So glad to hear La Quinta has been so accommodating for your whole family.

    • It has been so tough; Ochi’s loss was really, really unexpected. La Quinta has been wonderful accommodating everyone; the hotel is full to the brim with pets in what seems like nearly every room.

  • catchatcaren

    Dear God. I was thinking of you and couldn’t remember if you were in Houston or not. I have had you so strong on my mind. Thank God you do have La Quinta and that THIS time you left! I have tears as I am writing this because the pain you are experiencing on so many fronts is unfathomable. My heart goes out to you. Once again, I am sending prayers of comfort and of hope that you will be able to head home soon, and that your home hopefully didn’t experience any significant damage. ((((hugs))) and love

    • catchatcaren

      and of course Ochi…….(I just saw that other post a little while ago)………..I am so praying for all of you. That is just way too much, too much to handle. (((hugs)))

      • Thanks so much, Caren; we’re in the Austin area and so we’ve been spared the heavy, heavy rain like Houston. If we didn’t live right by a creek, we’d stay home but there’s no way out once our creek rises… I guess the hotel has given us all something different to concentrate on for a couple of days as we try to process the loss of Ochi…it just still seems unreal.

        • catchatcaren

          my heart is just breaking for you. I don’t even have the proper words ((((hugs))))

  • SGilbert

    Thank God you are safe. My heart break for you, John, Tiki, Irie, Lucky and Inca. Ochi was so young and had a beautiful face. I hope and pray you home is Ok and your relatives are safe. The pictures on the news makes me so sad. Take Care Paris.

    • Thank you…I’m not sure Ochi’s loss has sunk in yet. We reached the nursing home by phone today and all’s fine so far. We’re going to be able to go home tomorrow…we’re very fortunate considering all the losses so, so many places around the state.

      • SGilbert

        So glad the nursing home is Ok. I bet you will be glad to get home, Indiana is sending red cross and other people to Texas to help out.

  • sandy weinstein

    thank goodness you left. i have seen the news. i hope your relatives are safe in the nursing home. i am so glad that La Quinta accepts pets. i hope that your house survived and you will be able to get home safely. what a double knock down, the storm and the loss of Ochi. i am so very sorry. i wish you the best.

    • Thank you so much, Sandy; we were fortunate and returned home this morning. We are so lucky…just one county over begins the disaster area. And we were able to reach the nursing home via phone, and they’ve had a wild weekend but have been able to keep water out of the home and power on all weekend.

  • theresaoconnell

    Very glad to hear that you all are safe. And very happy to learn that La Quinta is pet friendly.