A loyal dogâ€”a 12-year-old Shih-Tzuâ€”rescued the life of its 83-year-old owner during the March 11 earthquake.
The dog, Babu, insisted on going for a walk and dragged its owner
Tami Akanuma outside. The dog stubbornly headed for a nearby hill rather
than taking their usual route in the coastal city of Miyako. Akanuma
decided to follow her dog and in doing so, she was spared from the
tsunami which slammed into the town minutes after she hiked uphill. The
torrent flattened the district of Taro-Kawamukai which was 200 meters
from the coast, where they lived.
â€śBabu might have sensed a tsunami was coming,â€ť said Akanuma.
Akanuma was relaxing in her living room when the quake struck off the
Tohoku coast. The lights went out and Babu started scampering around
the room, whimpering loudly and madly wagging her tail.
â€śItâ€™s a bit early for a walk,â€ť she thought, but Babuâ€™s insistence got her to go outside anyway.
â€śWe need to evacuate,â€ť Akanuma recalled thinking.
As soon as she opened the door, Babu frantically ran outside and
headed toward a nearby hillâ€“the opposite direction they usually go for a
When Akanumaâ€™s pace slackened, Babu would look back, seemingly urging
her owner to walk faster. When Akanuma caught up, Babu would bound
ahead again, straining at her leash.
This game of hurry-up-and-catch-me continued over and over. When
Akanuma finally took a breather, she had climbed the hill where an
evacuation center is located about one kilometer from her home.
Turning around, Akanuma could barely believe her eyes: Most of the
route she and Babu had walked had been swallowed up by the tsunami and
her home had been consumed by the wall of muddy water.
Akanuma believes her pooch could tell something was wrong that day.
As soon as they went outside, Babu ran frantically for the hills, in
the opposite direction of where they usually go for walks, and Akanuma
had no choice but to follow.
Babu and Akanuma are currently staying with 60 other survival locals at a hall being used as a shelter.