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Ardmore residents rescue livestock, dogs from drowning in high flood waters

Sierra Rains
srains@ardmoreite.com
Courtney Kuhlman sits with the dogs she helped rescue from high waters during an immense amount of flooding in Ardmore on Tuesday.

When heavy rains began to hit the Ardmore area on Tuesday, Courtney Kuhlman and her husband became worried about the livestock and animals across the way at their neighbor’s residence. 

The area around their home in southwestern Ardmore is a “serious flood zone,” Kuhlman said. Two creeks come together near their neighbor’s pasture, where a herd of around 23 sheep and two dogs became stranded. 

According to Amber Wilson, director of Emergency Management, the storm’s peak brought around six inches of rain to the area within three hours. Not only were the animals at risk, but first responders had to rescue several motorists stranded in high flood waters. 

Kuhlman said she and her husband saw the water rushing into their neighbor’s pasture and by the time they went to check on the animals it looked like nearly four feet of water had entered the area, with the water up to the dogs’ backs. 

Water floods a pasture in southwestern Ardmore. A couple that lived across from the pasture rescued several animals from the area.

Kuhlman and her husband attempted to contact their neighbor, but could not reach him. “Nobody had contact info to get a hold of him, to let him know that his livestock was drowning,” Kuhlman said. “I was raised up with livestock and I’m very much an animal person. I couldn’t see just letting them drown when we could save as many animals as we could.”

The couple was able to contact police and cut the locks in order to save the animals. “I had to swim through the current just to save his dogs,” Kuhlman said. “It was very difficult for me, I’m only 5’3 and the water was over my shoulders trying to swim across the current with a Great Pyrenees.” 

The dogs appeared to be very scared and kept trying to swim back to the herd of sheep, Kuhlman said, adding that the dogs’ job normally is to protect and be with the herd. Kuhlman also sent out a call for help on Facebook and a couple who had been driving by and saw the sheep in the flood waters stopped to help. 

Ardmore residents helped move a herd of sheep to higher ground after a storm system caused a large amount of flooding in their pasture.

Together the couples were able to herd the sheep to higher ground and managed to save around 17 of them. Unfortunately, six sheep were lost to the flood waters. 

Still, Kuhlman said it was comforting and rewarding to be able to help save a majority of the animals. The two dogs they rescued from the flood waters now come to visit Kuhlman and her husband at their residence across the way — almost as if it’s their way of saying thank you, she said. 

“I knew what I had to do because it wasn’t their fault that they were in the situation that they were in,” Kuhlman said. “This isn’t something that I did for recognition. I did it purely to save animals that couldn’t save themselves.” 

Dogs rescued from flood waters on Tuesday greet one of the Ardmore residents who helped save them.