For some of us, it may be actually experiencing miracles of survival, hearing stories of bravery or reading about the tremendous generosity of strangers. When we hear about others who have persevered in similar circumstances, we feel encouraged or maybe the cockles of our hearts become a tad warmer and some of us are inspired into action.
On April 19 I heard about the tornado that hit Girard. I thought of Andrea and Chet. I saw the tornado damage on TV and called Andrea the following morning. I was literally saying to myself, ‘Please answer, please answer.' And Andrea did – she said, ‘Hi, Jen.’
While listening to the horrible experience described by Andrea and trying to visualize the wreckage on their 10 acres of land, I could not help but feel for them.
Andrea said that she and Chet were very grateful to be alive but very overwhelmed.
Some of the comments Andrea made that stick in my mind are: ‘I don't even know where to begin…everything is such a mess...’ But the comment that she said with the most emotion and struck home (no pun intended) with me was that 'Patch was still missing'... the kennels, where Patch may have been were demolished... she had been calling for him and had walked around but could not find him.
Andrea called the vet and left her number in case someone would happen to see Patch.
Patch is one of the several dogs Andrea and Chet have. They were able to get three of the dogs in the basement before having to take shelter. Unfortunately, Patch was not among them.
The following day she and her neighbor walked about 8 miles around the fields looking and calling for Patch. After trudging that many miles and hours with no sign of Patch, Andrea began to lose hope. She was tired and upset.
She told her neighbor she was giving up. Andrea started to walk up her driveway and her cell phone rang.
Patch was found around 4 miles away (no one knows if he was blown that far or wandered) but he was one lucky dog. This amazing dog is 14 years old and literally lived through an EF 3 tornado.
He said his dog house was blown to smithereens.He also saw some funny looking birds - they had no feathers, flying shingles, shards of glass, siding, and lots of unidentifiable flying debris. He saw his porch swing fly up like paper and lodge itself into the top of a tree. A rusty piece of metal (about the size of a license plate) whizzed by his head and pierced a tree like a thumb tack.
Patch eventually landed on all four paws. After that whirlwind ride, Patch rested for a while in a nearby field. Eventually, a man found him and took him to the vet. While there, Patch was checked by the doctor and given the okay to go home. A very generous stranger paid Patch’s vet bill - she had set up a fund in honor of her dog.
Patch was found about four miles from home. Upon returning home, he noticed that about 100 of the trees that landscaped his property were no longer. Nothing looked like home; he felt bruised, stiff and scared.
As Patch was sitting in the field, he spotted his mom running towards him. (Andrea said she felt like she was in one of those bad romantic movies except she was not running on a beach.)
Patch's heart beat excitedly. But he could hardly move due to recent adventures and he still felt a little sore and traumatized. But Patch said he immediately felt safe when he saw his mom.
For the second time in his life (Patch was rescued by Chet and Andrea from a shelter), Patch felt like the luckiest dog in the world - to be home with his parents and his fellow pack members!
Andrea said to me that before finding Patch she & Chet were heartbroken. Now that Patch is home safe and sound nothing else matters... 'Well, maybe that pear tree, or maybe my shed!'
(Me getting my boots on to help clean up - not many people know that I ruffly understand dog speak.)