Shih tzu saves owner from tsunami


It was a bit early for Babu's morning walk, but the little shih tzu just wouldn't chill out.

After the quake struck on March 11, the roughly 10-pound ball of fur started nervously circling the living room. Her owner, 83-year-old Tami Akanuma, gave in and got the leash.

As soon as Akanuma opened the door to her home in the coastal city of Miyako, Babu started heading for a nearby hill — the opposite direction from the one the pair usually took on their morning walk.

Something inside Akanuma didn't question her pet's instincts. And it's a good thing she didn't: Minutes after climbing the hill, a devastating tsunami slammed into the town, flattening the district of Taro-Kawamukai where they lived about 200 yards from the coast.

As reported in the Yomiuri Shimbun:

"When Akanuma's pace slackened, Babu would look back, seemingly urging her owner to walk faster. When Akanuma caught up, Babu would bound ahead again, straining at her leash.

This game of hurry-up-and-catch-me continued over and over. When Akanuma finally took a breather, she had climbed the hill where an evacuation center is located about one kilometer from her home.

Turning around, Akanuma could barely believe her eyes: Most of the route she and Babu had walked had been swallowed up by the tsunami and her home had been consumed by the wall of muddy water."

The pair is now staying with about 60 others at an evacuation center in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture. They celebrated Babu's 12th birthday this week.

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