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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From Animals in Print 20 December 2000 Issue:


My family and I were living in Florida when hurricane Andrew came through. Our nieghborhood was one of the many brutalizedby the tornadoes that spun from Andrew. When everything stopped rocking and rolling and we thought the coast was clear, we opened the door to 30 or so dogs and puppies and kittens -- all of them howling and keening in fright. The poor things had been slung from a tornado when it turned at our fence and took a hard right. We were overrun by animals and they came pouring through the door in a mad rush for safety. When we finally got them all settled down, we read tags and called owners. Some of those poor animals had come from more than 100 miles away!

We got them all settled over the course of about two weeks with their owners.

All of them but one. He was a Retriever-Pit mix the best we could tell. He had no tags -- nothing to indicate where he belonged. So we decided we'd keep him until we found his parents. We started calling him Ralph, but I don't remember why. We lived in an old house, and that winter we had the fireplace going. We kept Ralph outside for he was a large dog.

That night, as everyone was heading off to bed,he started barking and whining. My mom went to the door and shushed him and told him it was bedtime. She went back to the living room and sat to continue watching television. He started "knocking" on the door again, a bit more agitated this time. She went back and shushed him again. They did this 5 or 6 times before he finally grabbed the front of her robe in his strong jaws and started tugging backwards. At first, she was fussing at him and then it dawned on her he wanted her to follow him. So she followed, grumbling the whole time about how cold it was and that he probably just wanted to show her some animal he had cornered. He let go of her and raced around the end of the house. When she got there she saw him frantically digging.The whole underside of our house was on fire!

Poor Ralph had been trying to put it out by himself for the past 45 minutes or so. She managed to get it put out, with Ralph's help. He taught us one thing -- never ever ignore your animals. They aren't stupid. To this day, we thank God for our heaven-sent miracle. Ralph is no longer with us. He passed away two years ago from cancer. --

Amber Allemang [email protected]
Source: [email protected]  (Beatrice Welles)

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