Mason Crawls Home
Animal Stories from

[Ed. Note: Also read Tornado Safety Tips For Companion Animals and other articles about caring for our Companion Animals.]

By Ricki Heller, PhD, RHN on This Dish is Veg
June 2011

Considering the courage, determination and spirit he exhibits, Mason could surely be a role model for us all.

We’ve often heard it said that dogs are remarkable for their loyalty and their ability to live in the “now,” but the story of Mason takes everything we thought we knew to an entirely new level.

One look at the scruffy, brown-eyed pup will reveal a sweet little dog with a happy demeanor and non-stop wagging tail. Another look as Mason moves toward you, and you’ll immediately notice his halting, unnatural gait.


Mason’s journey began on April 27, when he hid in the garage of his home as the area’s massive tornado struck his hometown of Smithfield, Alabama. As the tornado swept through the house and carried Mason away with it, his owners were helpless to save him and unable to find him later, despite desperate searching.

Then, 2-1/2 weeks after the storm—when they had all but given up on their beloved dog—the owners returned home to find Mason waiting calmly on the porch for them. One look told them what he’d been through. His front paws contorted and warped, Mason had to crawl with paws bent backward in order to move forward. According to the shelter that has been caring for him, the fractures in his legs never healed; yet he not only survived, but made his way home so he could wait for his family’s return.

As another shelter worker remarked, “This is probably the most dramatic [outcome] that we’ve seen as far as an injury in an animal that survived this long. . . . for an animal just to show up on someone’s porch after all this time is pretty remarkable, especially in the condition that he’s in.”

Despite everything, Mason remains happy, sweet and devoted to his human companions, his tail wagging enthusiastically as he lies on the grass with his caretaker. So it’s particularly sad that his owners felt they had to give him up to a shelter while they try to reconstruct their own lives after the tornado.

Hopefully, there will still be a happy ending for this little miracle dog: with the help of a donation from the Vulcan Park animal care clinic, Mason was taken in and his recovery is being paid for. After a 3-1/2 hour surgery and the care of three vets to fix his broken limbs, Mason is now making his way around the shelter on splints as he recuperates. The shelter is hoping that Mason will become a mascot for storm survivors.

Considering the courage, determination and spirit he exhibits, Mason could surely be a role model for us all.

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