Happy tail: Romeo re­trieved from rub­ble un­scathed

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

AGOLDEN re­triever called Romeo has been pulled from the rub­ble of Italy’s earth­quake, more than nine days af­ter he was given up for dead. Touch­ing footage filmed by the fire­men who saved him shows the shaggy dog be­ing lifted out from un­der a pile of ma­sonry that is all that re­mains of his own­ers’ house.

Ap­pear­ing com­pletely re­laxed, Romeo slurps his first drops of water in more than 230 hours from a bot­tle held by one of the fire­men.

As it be­comes clear he is un­scathed, the fire­man hold­ing him puts him down. Romeo then tip­toes grace­fully down the pile of rub­ble to be re­united with tear­ful own­ers who had given up hope of find­ing him alive. “He’s in great shape,” says one of the fire­men as oth­ers whoop in de­light while Romeo trots around what re­mains of his yard.

As he sniffs out fa­mil­iar smells with trade­mark re­triever in­sou­ciance, he looks for all the world as if he has just wo­ken from a short nap.

Romeo’s own­ers were sleep­ing on the sec­ond floor of their house in the tiny vil­lage of San Lorenzo a Fla­viano when the earth­quake struck be­fore dawn on Au­gust 24. They man­aged to get out, but Romeo, who was sleep­ing on the first floor, was trapped in­side. Af­ter search­ing for him for hours, they were even­tu­ally evac­u­ated from the dev­as­tated vil­lage for their own safety.

All hope of find­ing Romeo alive ap­peared to have dis­ap­peared un­til Fri­day even­ing, when the cou­ple re­turned to their home in the com­pany of a group of fire­men as­signed to help them re­cover key be­long­ings from the rub­ble. Al­most as soon as they came into the tiny me­dieval vil­lage, Romeo heard their voices and be­gan bark­ing.

“We im­me­di­ately be­gan mov­ing ma­sonry from where the bark­ing was com­ing from and in­cred­i­bly we got to him and he was in pretty good con­di­tion,” one of the fire­men told the ANSA news agency.

“Luck­ily some beams had fallen in a way that they were hold­ing up the weight of ev­ery­thing above them leav­ing Romeo with a lit­tle niche that he was able to sur­vive in.”

No hu­man sur­vivors of the quake have been found since the even­ing of Au­gust 24, when four-year-old Gior­gia was pulled out alive af­ter be­ing lo­cated by another ca­nine hero of the dis­as­ter, Leo. A labrador who works as a po­lice snif­fer dog, Leo was granted an au­di­ence with Pope Francis on Satur­day, two days af­ter he was guest of hon­our at a sum­mit be­tween Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Mat­teo Renzi and Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel.

Photo: AFP

Fire­fight­ers lift Romeo, a golden re­triever who was trapped in the rub­ble for nine days fol­low­ing Italy’s earth­quake, out of the wreck­age.

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