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June 2, 2008

May 22, 2008, a line of bad thunderstorms storms raced through northeastern Colorado. There was huge hail. There was rain. There were tornadoes. One came within about a half mile of a friend’s house. I first heard about the storm online as fellow dog folks folks began posting about people and dogs we know in the storm’s path. I frantically called my friend Elaine at work, then on her cell, wondering (hoping) her home and her dogs were OK. It was very scary. She works far from home. Her commute is l-o-n-g. I knew that her dogs were most likely home alone and possibly outside.

Here’s a link to a CNN piece on the storm. It was a biggie.

After a couple days, I heard through a mutual friend that Elaine and her dogs
(all 6 of them) were fine. But, we didn’t chat one-on-one until late last week. (Many cell towers were knocked down, and her only personal phone is her cell phone.)

Indeed, Elaine was at work in the Denver Tech Center area, far from home. She’d gone to lunch with a coworker and decided not to take her cell phone. When she returned, she had several messages from friends asking if she needed help. There was even one from a neighbor telling her he couldn’t get close to her dogs (were they loose? were they hurt? She didnt’ know.) She jumped in her car and raced home.

Jessie is in Oklahoma being started in his herding training. so he wasn’t home at the time. Another foster (Annie) recently went to a new home (everyone hopes it’s her permanent one). Ian and Ben were outside in their pens, but Callie, Sage, and Skeeter were inside. Only Skeeter isn’t a BC.

Elaine’s house is fine, other than one downed tree. Ben and Ian were a little freaked, but otherwise, OK. All the dogs inside were fine. She must have slipped through during that weird twilight after a disaster, where roads haven’t yet be shutdown officially. Once Elaine got home, though, she was stuck for a while because all major roads were closed.

Elaine believes the storm must have sucked the tree one direction (toward the
dog pens), then let it go so that it fell away from them. If not, Ben and Ian would have likely been hurt or even killed.

(I’m sorry. The photos for this post got lost in the internet abyss. I cannot find the originals to upload again.)

That’s Ben surveying the damage from on top of the tree. He’s actually a very tall, pretty large BC, but something about this photo makes him seem tiny. He’s a heck of a herding dog too.

That’s Sage on the bottom left and Callie on the bottom right. Now that the tree is down, and the storm is gone, the dogs consider the tree an excellent jungle gym.

I’ll write more about Ben later. He’s facing major heart surgery soon. But, for now, I’ll count Elaine’s blessings for her. This could have been so much worse.

Regular readers know that I’ve been experimenting with letting Lilly run loose in the house when I’m gone, which isn’t often these days with gas prices so high. Even though a tornado would be extremely rare at my altitude (approx. 8,000-8,500 feet above sea level), it makes me think that I should always crate Lilly and Ginko in the basement when we’re gone since during a storm like this that’d be the safest place.


About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

  1. Those are some powerful photos. I’m glad all of her dogs are ok. One of the worries in the back of my mind whenever I’m not home is there being a fire at my house and no one to rescue the animals. But a tornado? Yikes.

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