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Shelter for Buck

I was sure my little dog would never survive in the hurricane.

I’d coaxed him out from under my daddy’s truck, a scrawny mutt I named Buck. We became inseparable.

In 1989, under threat of Hurricane Hugo, my family evacuated our mobile home and went to my uncle’s place on the Awendaw Creek. Sixteen of us filled the small house. For a while I stood on the front porch with Buck, watching the tall pines break in the wind.

Around midnight, the creek began rising rapidly, and we had to fight our way through the flooding house and upstairs. In the confusion I left Buck outside.

I tried to go back, but my mother stopped me. “The water’s still rising!” she yelled. But what about Buck? He’d never survive the turbulent waters outside. I did the only thing I could think of: I begged God to shelter my friend.

After a few hours, the water dropped. We went downstairs. I sloshed through the three-inch-thick mud to the front door. No Buck. I walked through the dank house to the screened-in back porch. The door was still tightly latched. I started to cry.

Just then I heard a whimper. Huddled on the porch swing was Buck! I rubbed my face in his soggy coat. “How did you—?”

Something dripped on me and I looked up to see a small rip in the screen near the ceiling, 20 feet from the ground. I looked at Buck and then back at the rip. It was the one opening to the house. The creek must have risen just high enough for Buck to wriggle inside. To shelter.

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