Insights > All in a Day’s Work: Rescuing Swampy the Dog

All in a Day’s Work: Rescuing Swampy the Dog

09/11/2020

Entergy and contract line workers are meeting many tough challenges during Hurricane Laura restoration. Now Matt Lord, of PMI Energy Solutions, can add one more: dog rescue.

While Lord and his team were working on power lines in Westlake, Louisiana, located in the devastated Lake Charles metropolitan area, they encountered an unexpected friend near a hotel in nearby Hackberry.

“A little dog, about 15-20 pounds, with brown shaggy hair, came up to us in a parking lot. He was happy but real dirty,” Lord said.

Lord and the work crew took to the dog and looked after him. “He loves to play and cuddle. He’s just an awesome, lovable dog. In the truck, he’d sit between me and my partner,” Lord said.

The place where they found him is a wet area, so they started calling him Swampy. He wore a tag, so the crew tried to reunite him with his family.

“We assumed he’d gotten lost. We called the number on the tag, which was to a local animal care facility, but it was closed. We called the police, hotel, gas station,” Lord noted.

With no responses after a few days, Lord’s wife, Amy, daughter Amelia and son Loren began to drive down from their home in Chicago to collect Swampy. When they were halfway to Louisiana, a Facebook post by crew member Lee Shappa resulted in a call from Swampy’s family, and Lord received a poignant surprise.

He learned that Swampy’s real name is Strike,r and he belongs to Brenda Venable, a Hackberry resident. Her daughter, Jenny Logan, called to pick up Striker.

“My mom is 69 and has stage four cancer. When Striker was missing, all she would do is sleep. We rode around looking for him and she said, ‘If he’s gone, he’s gone. There’s nothing we can do,’” Logan said.

The family’s home had been destroyed by Hurricane Laura, and they were living in Logan’s camper, with a generator providing power. When she arrived to pick up Striker, “all the men were around him,” she said, referring to Lord, Shappa, crew member Bill Garriga and General Foreman Kyle Quinlan.

In the next couple of days, Logan returned to the work site with Striker so Lord’s wife and children could meet the little dog before they returned home – and Lord received another surprise.

“My mother said that if something happens to her, she wants Striker to go to them. So when God calls mom home, Striker’ll go to Mr. Lord. I talked to my children, and they said that was fine,” Logan said.

She added that she was extremely grateful to the PMI crew. “The linemen took very good care of him. They’ve been a godsend. They didn’t have to do what they did,” she said.

So whether he’s Striker or Swampy, he’ll be with a caring family. “He’s a lover,” Lord said.

While they worked on restoring the essential service of electricity to a battered community, line workers proved that their dedication even included looking after the least of us - a lost dog.

“It’s one of the best things about this job – being able to help out,” said Lord. He’s been in the field about two weeks, but said, “I’ll stay as long as they need me.”


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