Lenore Letellier and her 12 cats are never returning to their flood-prone home.
“I’m done, this is the last time,” she told The Sun News on Tuesday evening as a National Guard truck drove through the water on Lee’s Landing Circle.
Letellier said she wasn’t aware how often the Waccamaw River flooded when she and her husband bought the house 14 years ago, but with Florence bringing a third flood — each worse than the last — in four years, she knows she can’t stay.
“The really sad part is you make all these memories and friends,” she said. “You don’t just lose your home ... it’s a good chunk of your life and you can’t get that back.”
After recovering from a panic attack that required some time in an ambulance earlier Tuesday, Letellier got assistance from the Humane Society of the U.S., National Guard and Horry County Police Department.
Kirsten Peek, spokeswoman for the Humane Society, said her team had rescued about 20-25 animals Tuesday.
When the cats were finally unloaded, she knelt beside the crates, unable to contain her tears, while simultaneously trying to soothe Smokey and the others, some she’s owned as long as 12 years.
Letellier’s friend and son were on their way to help her take the cats to a shelter.
She’s hopeful she’ll be able to get all 12 back eventually, but she guessed she likely would only be able to bring a couple to wherever she moves.
She wants to stay in the Conway area, she said, but nowhere near water..
“I don’t even want to put my toes on the beach right now,” she said.