Tornado Victim Found Clutching Dog

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As tornado sirens pierced the air in Joplin, MO on May 22nd, Johnna Hale remained calm, drawing her Border Collie, Star, near to her and seeking the relative safety of a bathtub for the two of them to use as a miniature makeshift shelter.

And then Star bolted. Terrified by the storm, the dog ran, and Hale pursued in an attempt to catch her and bring her back inside. She called her daughter, who said her mother was frantic, and was crying as she scrambled to find Star. The phone line went dead as the twister tore into Joplin. It was the last time Miranda Hale would speak to her mother.

Johnna Hale and her beloved Star were found nine days later. The distraught woman had located the dog as the tornado bore down on them, and had brought her into a nearby building to seek shelter. Sadly, the building had not held up to the punishing winds, and as workers cleared debris from the site last month, they discovered the deceased dog lover, still holding Star close to her. The two had taken their final journey together.

In a message to The Kansas City Star, Miranda Hale remembered her mother’s devotion to animals.

“My mom loved animals. She grew up on horses, we always had a cat or a dog around. We always joked about how our animals were better fed than we were. She had a border collie mix named Star when she was about 6-8 years old. I remember when she got her as a puppy and was really excited, she had adopted an older dog that just passed away, and was feeling sad from that. Star always slept with Mom, even if I went to visit, she had a full sized bed that the three of us, plus a cat, tried to fit on. When they had finally found my mom, they said that Star was in her arms.”
Johnna Hale

36 thoughts on “Tornado Victim Found Clutching Dog”

  1. This is so sad, but I can’t blame her I would do the same thing. We had a tornado here where I live in the beginning of the month, it did not hit my house and I was at work trying to get home to my dogs. There was horrible thunder and lighting and when I got home I found my older dogs dead body in my living room, they think he had a seizer or a heart attack, I think it may have been him being scared of the storm. He had been home alone during storms before but this one must of been real scary. He is all I think about 24/7. He was my shadow and was always there for me when I needed him and I wasn’t there for him. I miss him

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    • I am so sorry for Ur loss. I too have had dogs with severe thunder anxiety but haven’t been unfortunate enough to lose them to the fear. Sending U hugs

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    • we do the best we can at the time. you didnt have any way of knowing. this is sad, but its not your guilt. guilt is useless unless we deserve it and can learn from it. THIS IS FOR JULIE

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    • Oh my God, Julie, how terrible – I am so sorry that happened to you – I can’t even imagine how you must feel. A couple of months ago we had a tornado warning here with a ton of damage about 5 – 10 miles away, and I have 7 dogs (1 is a foster) and 2 kids (husband and 1 of the kids were out of town), so my daughter and I and all our dogs were in the hallway, laundry room and hall closet. They were all miserable and panting and scared, but I can’t imagine NOT trying to save them, too. The story above just breaks my heart….

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    • Awww Julie, it’s not your fault. I understand your love and devotion for your dog. I’m sure it’s what he remembers of you too. Don’t beat your self up. You sound like a truly great dog owner. I hope someday you can share your love with another lucky dog. God bless you and Johanna’s family.

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    • Julie, he was safe and you were coming. I know the guilt from not being there, and I hope you find peace someday. You are in my prayers

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  2. RIP Johanna & Star. God Bless the Hale family and my sincere condolences for the loss of Johanna and Star. May Jesus keep them in His loving embrace for eternity.

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  3. I am so sorry for you lose, but can understand 100%. my mom is also an animal lover and she would do the same thing. I also grew up saying ” if the horse and I got hurt at the same time my mom would check the horse first” . My mom said ” yes, the horse can’t talk!” so I am right there with you. She went with her beloved pet. They have got to still be together. God Bless you and yourfamily.

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