MATSUYAMA, EHIME PREF. - A dog was rescued from underneath rubble six days after going missing during last month’s landslides in western Japan, offering some heartening news for the small community that was devastated by the disaster.
Kinuko Miyamoto, 72, was overjoyed at the survival of the 7-year-old female shiba inu, named Minami, in Uwajima, Ehime Prefecture, where many homes were swept away by mudslides following torrential rains in July. Miyamoto was taking care of Minami after the dog’s owner moved into a care home two years ago.
On the morning of July 7 an upstream dam collapsed, causing landslides that crashed into Minami’s home. Miyamoto searched and called out for the dog the next day but could not hear any response.
“Poor Minami,” thought Miyamoto, believing the dog to have been buried. Together with her family, she prayed in front of Minami’s silent home.
Then, on July 13, mandarin farmers heard a dog barking on their way to a mountain. Akira Seike, 56, saw the dog’s face trapped in a destroyed home.
After he cut the leash to release the dog from the rubble, she began licking a puddle of water. Although skinnier and with disheveled hair, it was clearly Minami.
Local residents were delighted at the news. Miyamoto shed tears, saying, “I never thought I would see her again.”
After Minami’s health recovered, Miyamoto and the dog enjoyed a walk together for the first time in a month on Aug. 6.
Stroking Minami, Miyamoto said, “I had leg problems but I now feel lighter as Minami came back.”