A Dog Survives the Flood
In this oral history excerpt, Johnnie Bratten recalls coming back to his home in a boat and finding his dog floating on a mattress after the flooding of Hurricane Floyd. He tries to describe what the shock was like but struggles for words. Bratten's house was destroyed by the flooding that followed Hurrican Floyd. Bratten was receiving aid from religious groups and volunteers. He was receiving almost no aid from the government.
Bratten, Johnnie. By Charles Thompson. Southern Oral History Program Collection. Interview length 00:11:28. January 15, 2000. https://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/K-0508/menu.html
Johnnie Bratten: So the following day, there was water everywhere. We were surrounded more or less. We couldn't get back down here. It was about - I know it was two days or three days until I got back down here. We had forgotten we left that dog down here.
Charles Thompson: This was a little chihuahua.
Johnnie Bratten: And the water, it was out above my waist. A friend of mine lived over there had a boat. So, he was out with the boat, and he brought me down here to the back door. He drove the boat all the way down to the back door. I reached down under water to the doorknob and got that and pushed it open. Of course, everything was floating in there then. I had to push the door open to get the furniture and stuff out of the way. I got in and walked all the way around to the back bedroom. The dog was floating around on a mattress in there. She was in my bedroom. I got her off and got her out and went back out with the man on the boat. For the -
Charles Thompson When you found that dog, how had the dog survived?
Johnnie Bratten: Oh, she had been floating around on the mattress.
Charles Thompson: And what did she think when you first grabbed her?
Johnnie Bratten: She was ( ). She headed for higher ground. She headed for the top of my head and I managed to hold her down with my arm. Got her out of my arm and brought her back into the boat. She was in shock. Carried her on back home. She's been right with me, close to me ever since. Have you noticed that? She's been around pretty close. She's not going to wander off too far. It affected her. I'm sure it did because it affected everybody else.
Charles Thompson: How did it affect you?
Johnnie Bratten: Shock.
Charles Thompson: So when you first came back and saw your place, what does shock feel like? Most of us haven't felt it before.
Johnnie Bratten: You're just dumbfounded. That's my best explanation of it.
Charles Thompson: You can't think of any words?
Johnnie Bratten: Right, you can't think. You know everything is gone. You try to cope with it the best you can. It just doesn't want to leave you, but you just have to keep turning your mind away from it as much as you can until you get around where you can think to do anything.
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