A group of University of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska-Omaha students spent winter break rescuing dogs from hurricane-torn Texas.
"It wouldn't be Christmas Break if we weren't helping someone."
Siblings Katya and Nata Ward along with their friends Carah and Majdi traveled to Houston during their winter break from college, planning to spend their time helping people rebuild.
"It's something you don't think about," Majdi Alkarute said. "I mean, the hurricane was months ago."
But as they were cleaning destroyed houses a cry for help changed their plans. An anonymous woman had seven dogs in bad shape.
"When the hurricane hit, they couldn't live in their house anymore. And so when they left, they couldn't take their dogs," Katya Ward said. "So they just left them, and then they had the puppies two months afterward and continued to just leave them."
The dogs had mange, worms, fleas, and were severely malnourished.
The students said they called all the shelters, and every place was full.
With the permission of the dogs' owner, the college freshman and sophomores decided to the pets home to Nebraska immediately.
"We actually flew him home with our luggage."
Nata, had worked at the humane society and a doggy daycare, so they had some experience, but it had not prepared them for this. The group worked in shifts, and covered, so they wouldn't get sick from the animals.
Neighbors brought supplies, and local dog rescues had volunteers to help walk the pets — all coming together to help the "Houston seven."
As of today, Bean and Auvie, and their other brother and sisters are 3 months old and doing well. All the dogs went to their forever homes this weekend.
The group is still celebrating their little victory of of the pint-sized successes. But above all, they hope their story inspires others to act.
"We just kind of hope the people realize they need our help," Carah Criner said.
Madji agreed. "No one ever says, 'I regret helping.' "
The "dad dog" is still available for adoption. Find out more, or learn how you can support the Nebraska Humane Society, on the NHS website. You can also help cover the cost of the puppies' care via YouCaring.com.