Brian Mollere and his mother's chihuahua Rocky (shown above in a photo by Liz Hafalia) were outside by their home in Waveland, Mississippi, gazing at the damage of a waning Hurricane Katrina.
Unexpectedly a forty foot surge lifted Brian straight up in the sky, carrying him eight-hundred feet or further, clinging desparately to Rocky under one arm.
"All the buildings behind me were just collapsing, collapsing," said Brian. "It was a ride I'll never forget. It's like some of these surfers look for the perfect wave. Well, I had one."
Man and dog spent several hours together in the water, waiting for rescue, with no one else left alive in the neighborhood. Eventually he and Rocky slogged off to fend for themselves, heading toward Bay St. Louis three miles away, where he believed his mother was safe.
He'd earlier seen his 80-year-old mother off to stay with his sister to ride out the storm in a place they all believed would be safer, but he would all too soon discover she had drowned.
Brian was one of the first to return to the devastated neighborhood. He camped on the splintered ruins with only Rocky for companionship for the next three days in a dazed state of shock.
As he and Rocky had been on the news, people started coming by to donate stuff, and he went from having only one chair after the destruction, to having so much stuff to spare that his and Rocky's camp became a give-away station for others trickling back into the neighborhood. Helping others helped to keep his grief and depression managable, or at least delayed.
A year later, a BBC reporter, shown below in a photo by Craig Morse, interviewed Brian outside his Fema trailer. Note that Rocky is peeing on the reporter's pant-leg!