Arkansas tornado dogs: 2 dogs emerge unharmed from the rubble of destroyed home

May 3, 2014

Two more dogs, trapped in the wreckage after devastating tornadoes tore through Mayflower, Arkansas on April 27, have been found. Their rescue took place on May 3.

Chloe Charlton and a volunteer team are presently working alongside Shelia Maxwell from the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Services. This team, which was comprised of Jyll Latham, Christi Davis and her German Shepherd, Mischka, are responsible for saving two dogs.
The team, through Mayflower Friends of Animals (MFOA), set out to help the families on Highway 89 past Dam Road near Mayflower, once of the communities hardest hit by the storm. As their team was driving by, they were asking people if any were in need of help with lost or injured animals.

A volunteer working on Dam Road told the team of a brown dog that had been seen hanging around a house a few blocks down. The volunteer took the rescue team to the location, where a house had been torn apart by the tornado.

Within 15 minutes, a beautiful chocolate lab was found after Chloe heard a feeble bark beneath some rubble under what was left of the house. “Harley” was very nervous, and very afraid after his ordeal. This is the norm for a dog who has survived such a traumatic experience.

Luckily Jyll had brought some canned dog food, and were able to coax Harley out. Harley came out and began to eat. Unfortunately, something spooked Harley when he was halfway out of the rubble, causing him to run back under the house. Chloe had come close to being able to place a slip lead on him.

Despite Chloe being injured when her hand slammed into the concrete and losing sight of Harley, the team was able to go down a hill around a fallen tree and more debris. It was here they heard Harley moving around. They called to him in a soft voice, offering him more food.

Eventually Harley crept out of the shadows, and Chloe rewarded him with a bacon-flavored treat tossed in his direction. It didn’t take long until Harley was eating out of Jyll’s hand and allowing the ladies to pet him.

The team sat with Harley for a good ten minutes, letting him learn that he could trust them. Eventually Chloe was able to get a slip lead on Harley, and this time he didn’t get away.

Now it was time for another miracle. Jyll and Christi spotted another dog in the rubble, who had popped her head out from behind Harley.

“Coco” had been there all along. She was a bit more shy than Harley, and was more hesitant to take their food. The team decided to take Harley to the truck and come back for Coco.

Once Harley was secured in the truck, Coco walked out of the rubble on her own to greet them. She was given some food, and eventually the team got a slip lead on her and were able to get her into the car.

Chloe gave her phone number to all of the volunteers working the area, one of whom was good friends with the owner of the destroyed house.

The team had a tough decision to make. As they recouped in the air-conditioning of Chloe’s truck, they had to decide where to take Coco. Most of the shelters were full, and several pet owner’s had already had to go on a scavenger hunt to find their misplaced pet.

Another miracle was about to occur. While Chloe was on her cellphone, a call came in from a number she didn’t recognize. A hunch told her she needed to take this call. It was Coco and Harley’s dad. They were at a grocery store just a few minutes away. The volunteer team made the quick drive to meet them.

It was a tearful reunion for Harley and Coco, as the owner and his son were both there to meet them. The dogs were both quite healthy, other than being dehyrated. Their owners gave them lots of water, then took them to an air-conditioned place where the family is staying since their home was destroyed.

Two new dog collars were donated by community members, along with some dog food.

Chloe describes the experience

“I will never forget those wagging tails and smiles this morning. It was a great beginning of Day 6 Post Tornado! Happy to report that there have been many other happy reunions this week. I can only hope that having these furry family members back helped them feel a little bit better, and certainly the dogs were happier too.”

There have been many tearful reunions this week. The articles under suggested by the author tell the story of these miracle dogs, who were reunited with their owner’s after family members feared the worst.

While rescue searches are still taking place, this Facebook group has been a godsend in reuniting lost pets with the people who found them. Please visit Facebook: Pets Lost & Found From Arkansas Tornado if you have lost or found a pet.

Note: Information for this article is a first hand account by Chloe Charlton.


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