PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS - It was an emotional reunion Tuesday for a Port Arthur couple and their beloved horse -- all thanks to the Houston SPCA.
Gather and Donna Beard got separated from Billy Jack after Hurricane Harvey flooded their property.
As the waters rose, Gaither tried to move Billy Jack to higher ground.
“I’m a diehard cowboy and I said ‘If my horse is goin’ down, I’m goin’ down with him,’” Gaither said.
Gaither made it to Highway 365 but nearly drowned in the process.
“Had a rocky experience,” he said. “Helicopter spooked him and he wrapped the lead rope around my leg and pulled me under water.
Deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department helped get Billy Jack out of chest-deep water but the Gaithers lost track of him after that.
After Harvey, the Beards began a desperate search for their horse. They reached out to the Houston SPCA and Equine Supervisor Jackie Kelsey joined the search.
After some detective work, Kelsey tracked Billy Jack to Austin and brought him back to Port Arthur. The Beards were thrilled to see him again.
“Hey big boy, we missed you,” Donna said.
“Give me a kiss … I love you,” Gaither told Billy Jack as he hugged his neck.
The SPCA also gave the Gaithers donated supplies and grain for their horse.
The Houston SPCA has reunited more than 200 pets with their owners since Harvey, including 40 horse.
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