These are the top animal stories this year!


1. Halley meets Sam
A puppy with an impaired leg lights up boy’s life

Sam Morrison, an 11-year-old boy from Belton, received a rare puppy in September. Declaring “she’s just like me,” he hugged his new furry friend, born with a leg deformity. “My CP affects my right side, and she has a deformed paw,” Sam said.

Sam has cerebral palsy and has been treated at Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville. The British Labrador earned her name from hospital staff, they said, because she is as rare as the once-every-75-year comet.

2. It’s a girl!
Zoo’s rare Sumatran orangutans become parents to a healthy baby

On Aug. 7, Lana, 33, gave birth by C-section to little Adira at the Greenville Zoo. The baby’s father, Kumar, had become well-known to readers as the escape artist who’d twice climbed out of his enclosure over the previous year. The zoo called on a neonatologist from Greenville Health System, Michael Stewart, to assist in the birth, and the baby is doing well.

3. Flame goes missing
Fire cat uses one of his nine lives escaping a drain pipe

The orange tabby we got to know and love in 2017 got into a spot of trouble this year. Flame is the official kitty mascot of the Belmont Fire Department (complete with mini station house). When the station’s assistant chief called out for his feline friend late one night last month, he heard a distant mewling. His emergency rescue comrades got right on the job and pulled Flame out of a drain hole, soaking wet. Flame continues to provide a warm, comforting presence for his firehouse buddies.

4. Legend carries on
The neglected dog who needed a forever home (and got one)

We first met Legend back in March when his foster mom, Fran Rizzo, brought him to a Greenville County Council meeting where hundreds of animal advocates were pushing for stricter rules on doghouses. Legend’s presence stood as a reminder of what was at stake when owner’s neglect their animals. He had been attacked in a yard by two other dogs, lost both his ears and almost died. We featured his need for a forever home in April, and today he is living with a new family in New York. Fun fact: Legend is featured as “Mr. October” in the 2019 calendar for Rescue Dogs Rock NYC.

5. Trucker to the rescue
Tennessee man transports 64 dogs and cats out of storm’s path

Tony Alsup, a 51-year-old trucker from Tennessee, drove an old yellow bus to four South Carolina coastal towns devastated by Hurricane Florence in September. He loaded up his bus with 53 dogs and 11 cats and took them to safety at a shelter in Alabama.

This wasn’t Alsup’s first go at rescuing animals — over the past year he’s done it in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico with the bus he first bought to help folks in Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. “People don’t believe me, they say it’s got to be barking crazy. But no. They know I’m the Alpha dog and I’m not here to hurt them.”


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