Chloe, 13, is the feline friend of Westover residents Melinda Root and John DeMarce, whose home was damaged by water that filled the basement and rose almost two feet high in the first floor.
Root previously told ARLnow that she awoke that morning to the flood waters rising out of the floorboards at her bed.
“The first thing I thought of was my cat,” she said.
Luckily, Chloe made it to higher ground on the house’s second floor thanks to the quick thinking of a friend. Unfortunately, the couple still lost their car, parts of their dry wall, kitchen appliances, hot water and HVAC system, and many personal keepsakes.
“I’ve thrown away hundreds of books and CDs,” said DeMarce, who tore up the first floor carpet after worrying the water that saturated it could lead to mold in the house.
Two days after the flood, when ARLnow visited, Chloe could be seen winding around DeMarce and Root’s legs, and perched on the books and boxes piled for the garbage truck like little islands in a sea of lost belongings.
Now, DeMarce says they’re “down to the guts of the house” but they were able to save the floor and the older plaster walls. He said the house is “almost dry” again, but he’s been keeping Chloe upstairs where he and Melinda are staying while contractors are repairing the downstairs.
“She’s not afraid of them,” he said. “She likes to help.”
So for now, Chloe is busy dozing on the second floor where she can’t rub up against any sharp tools or step on any nails. And outside, a young wild bunny has returned to their yard after DeMarce and Root feared it had drowned in the storm.
In the heavily damaged Westover neighborhood, DeMarce said two young girls held a bake sale to raise money for gift certificates to the nearby Ayers Variety and Hardware store. They delivered one gift certificate off to him this week, writing on a note in blue marker, “I hope this will brighten your day.”
“It was just the cutest thing ever,” he said.
DeMarce’s coworkers at the Arlington Animal Welfare League have also launched two GoFundMes that hopes to raise $10,000 to cover the cost of the damage to the couple’s home — one of several fundraising efforts in the county aiding flooded neighbors and businesses.
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Becky’s Pet Care provides professional dog walking and pet sitting in Arlington and all of Northern Virginia, as well as PetPrep training courses for Pet Care, CPR and emergency preparedness.