In many ways, Harvey the Hound is like so many other Calgarians. He was caught unaware by unprecedented flooding and saw his home overrun with water.
An image of the Calgary Flames mascot’s muddied, flood-battered mug – missing its memorable blue eyes and red tongue – spread online this week as cleanup continued. It was a jarring sight for some in the city.
“That was a pretty harrowing scene for poor Harvey,” Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.
Harvey is the face of an NHL organization that’s among those facing a long road to recovery. The Saddledome – home of the Flames and the Stampede, and de facto kennel to Harvey – had water pour in, with the team saying at one point the lower level of the rink was a “total loss.”
The floods in Calgary forced 75,000 people from their homes. In response, the city has rallied, in part, around whatever events it can. Those include the Stampede, which pledged to go forward “come hell or high water.”
The Calgary Stampeders will go ahead with their CFL home game Friday, while collecting donations for the Red Cross and pausing to honour the four people who died in relation to the floods.
The Flames face a long road back, and the team is uneasy with discussing Harvey’s condition at a time when so many families are facing heartbreaking loss. But Harvey was saved, with little more than the fur on his back, and is already back in action.
“Harvey’s a little dirty, but what dog doesn’t like to roll in the mud every now and then?” Flames spokesman Peter Hanlon said.
On Tuesday, the mascot was set to make his first post-flood appearance, at a Calgary soccer clinic for children ages 3 to 9.
He’s “good as new,” Hanlon said.
Harvey is no stranger to adversity. Most famously, he needed mascot surgery after a run-in with then-Edmonton Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish, who ripped his tongue out to quell Harvey’s taunts.
Nenshi had been asked Tuesday what photos, if any, stood out from the flood response. The mayor, through endless updates for the public and press, has tried to keep spirits up with occasional moments of levity.
“I will tell you the most awful one I saw was my good friend Harvey the Hound,” he said. “Let’s just say Harvey needs a trip to the spa. But once he’s been to the spa, I’m sure he’ll feel great at the end.”