Thursday, January 12, 2012

2 deaths, 2 dogs

Kayaker Rory O'Conner was fishing off Sarasota, Florida, on Saturday when a dog swam up to him (video here) at least 1/2 mile away from beach access. "He was really really scared and he was shivering at first I thought he was cold but then I could tell he was really scared. He had to swim pretty far and he was pretty beat up. His paw was bleeding and he had a bunch of scrapes." O'Conner quickly brought the dog to shore and his sister rushed him to the vet. A microchip held contact information for his owners, the Chens (photo here), so the vet called their house to let them know the dog had been found. Unfortunately, just moments earlier, Wellington Chen had just been told by police that his wife of 26 years had been struck and killed by a 22-year-old drunk driver. Donna Chen (1st image), 53-year-old mother of 2, was walking Barney on the sidewalk of a busy state road. When she was hit from behind, the dog fled the scene, running away from traffic and ending up in the Gulf of Mexico. "I think Barney coming back to us was a total miracle," said the bereft Dr. Chen.

On Wednesday of last week, a hungry and exhausted Welsh corgi showed up at the Alpine Motel in Cooke City, Montana, though his family was no longer there. "When I first saw the dog, it was sitting in front of their room staring at the door," said proprietor Robert Weinstein. Oly's owners Dave and Kerry Corcoran Gaillard had taken him along when they went backcountry skiing 4 days earlier, but only Kerry had returned. After shouting to his wife to head for the trees, 44-year-old Dave Gaillard (2nd image) and the dog had been swept up and buried by an avalanche. The search and rescue team recovered Dave's body, but team member Bill Whittle was able to drive the surviving pet (video here) back to Bozeman - where Dave's daughter Marguerite, 11, was putting photos of Oly on poster board as a memorial. His stepdaughter 15-year-old Silver Brelsford (3rd image, with Oly, video here) said, "She found out when she was halfway done with that that Ole was still alive." Dave's Dad called Oly's survival "beyond belief. It truly is a miracle.” Dave's widow told reporters, “I was excited, but it amplified the loss of Dave a little bit. You automatically wish it could be Dave.” And Silver said, "It didn’t completely ease the pain, but it helped a tiny bit.”

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