According to tsunami survivor Tami Akanuma, her 12-year-old shih tzu Babu is not a big fan of going for walks. Yet on the 11th of March, Babu not only insisted on being taken out – she also led her owner to higher ground, ultimately saving her life.
The two of them were in the living living room of their home when the quake struck off the Tohoku coast. When the lights flickered Babu began making a ruckus, whimpering and making a run for the door.
When they got outside, Babu stubbornly refused to follow Tami’s lead, and literally dragged her to a nearby hill – in the opposite direction of their usual route in the coastal city of Miyako. When the elderly Akanuma was forced to slow down in order to catch her breath, Babu would look back, urging her owner to walk faster. When she caught up to her, Babu bounded ahead again, straining at her leash. When Akanuma noticed that Babu had relaxed and stopped pulling at the lead, she realized that they had traveled a kilometer in a matter of minutes.
“Babu might have sensed a tsunami was coming,” said Akanuma, 83. If she did, her decision to act upon instinct saved her life and that of her owner: minutes after climbing the hill the big wave struck, flattening the district of Taro-Kawamukai where they lived, their home consumed by the wall of muddy water.
Displaced by the destruction, Babu and Akanuma are now staying with 60 locals at a hall being used as a shelter. And while their future may be uncertain, the unwavering dedication of her four legged friend is something Tami Akanuma says she’ll never question.
source: Daily Yomiuri Online