It seems with all our modern technology and the immediacy of today’s communications, we remain perpetually ill prepared for disasters. We plan as best we’re able, but nature is a fickle force and we are at its mercy.

For the last few days Cyclone Debbie has pounded eastern Australia causing unimaginable flooding in an area the size of Texas. Damage to towns, infrastructure, homes and crops will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“There is just so much debris floating around. It’s really hard to even assess how long it’s going to take to collect all of this rubbish,” Isaac Smith, mayor of hard hit Lismore said.

It is heart wrenching to see the after affects of disasters, the ruin can overwhelm our senses. But from every disaster comes those life affirming stories that give us hope. You know – those stories of selfless behavior, heroism and neighbors helping one another. This is one of those stories.

Mare collapses in the Shepherd’s doorway

During the height of the storm, The Shepherd family of New South Wales heard the calls of a distressed horse. In the middle of the night they swam into the flood waters and using a power cord as a lead, coaxed the frightened horse toward their house. The horse took a few steps up the outside stairs then collapsed in the home’s doorway.

Floodwaters continued to rise into the house, the Shepherds held the exhausted horse’s head above the water on a boogie board for more than five hours.

After the storm passed a local veterinarian examined the horse and said she will make a full recovery. She has since been reunited with her owners. A great ending to a harrowing situation.

We need these feel good stories. They are the new rose bud that emerges from a pile of mud to remind us that life too is a force to be reckoned with.

Rob (third from left) and Leigh Shepherd (far right) with the horse and its owners

Thank you to the Shepherd family for their kindness. Good folk, the kind of neighbors we all want – and can be.


Photography Courtesy Leigh Shepherd and Baldwin Equine Veterinary Services