Dr. Max Heimlich

Dr. Max Heimlich is veterinarian at Stuebner Airline Veterinary Hospital in northwest Houston, which flooded during Hurricane Harvey. Heimlich says that growing up in Ohio, he was not prepared for a natural disaster on the scale of Harvey, but that he has lived through many storms while in Houston. Heimlich was at the hospital on the Friday before the floods began, and says he elevated all the computers in the office in case water got in the building.

He recalls that he expected it to rain, but while watching news coverage of the storm, he was in disbelief about how slow the storm was moving. All of the animals that were being treated or boarded at the hospital had been moved to the second floor of the hospital to protect them from the four feet of water that inundated the hospital. Heimlich explains that the first thing the hospital did was call the owners of the pets in their care to let them know that their pet was safe and being moved to a new location if they wanted to come pick up the pet.

He recalls feeling numb when he saw the damage to the hospital, which was built twelve inches above the 500-year flood plain. However, Heimlich was not present for the evacuation of the animals at the hospital because he was flooded in at his house. When it was time to repair the building, Heimlich says that all the employees helped as well as some clients. During the rebuilding process, other animal hospitals gave space for Heimlich and his staff to continue their practice. The hospital reopened ahead of schedule, on December 18, 2017. Heimlich notes that he does not believe there is anything they can do to prevent the hospital from flooding again, and that he was encouraged by the help he and his staff received from the community.