Tornado Survivor Crawls Home On Broken Legs
A scruffy, one year old terrier mix named Mason was whisked away by fierce twisters on April 27th in North Smithfield, Alabama, prompting his owners, who lost their home in the storm, to fear the worst. But the redoubtable mutt apparently crawled back to his home days later with two broken legs in a remarkable tale of survival.
A battered, courageous Mason survived a tornado ride, only to spend days making a painful journey home, crawling with two badly broken front legs.
Mason was hiding in the garage of his North Smithfield, AL home on April 27th when his family says a twister carried him away. After days spent searching the family had almost given up – until they returned to their home Monday to retrieve personal items. Mason was waiting for them on the front porch.
“He’s got 2 broken legs and they’re distal radial ulnal fractures, they’ve not been able to be in alignment so neither one of them have healed so he had to crawl on 2 broken legs to get home,” said Dr. Barbara Benhart, a veterinarian with the Birmingham-Jefferson County Animal Control Shelter.
“This is probably the most dramatic we’ve seen as far as an injury in an animal that’s survived this long,” said shelter worker Phil Doster. “It’s kind of tapering off, the amount of animals we’re seeing because of the storm. For an animal just to show up on someone’s porch after this time was pretty remarkable, especially with the condition he’s in.”
"His front legs were flopping, completely broken, they almost windmilled," said Benhart. "So I asked our director if I could farm out this dog to one of my vet friends and see if we could get someone to help us."
Dr. Bill Lamb of Vulcan Park Animal Care in Birmingham offered to help without hesitation, said Benhart. He took one look at the dog and took him in.
"He was dehydrated, malnourished, about 50 percent of his normal body weight," said Lamb. Once he was able to stabilize Mason, he enlisted the help of two orthopedic surgeons to fix the puppy's legs.
"It took three of us three-and-a-half hours," said Lamb. "Two plates and 17 screws later he had legs."
Though the doctors offered their services free of charge, many people in the Birmingham area have offered donations to cover Mason's medical bills.
"We didn't expect anything," said Lamb. "The donations will go to cover the hardware -- the screws and plates -- and what's left over will go into a general fund for those that still need help."
Now Mason is recovering nicely, according to Lamb. The plan is to keep him at Vulcan Park Animal Care until his owners can take him back.
"He broke down in tears when he found out they could take him home," said Lamb of the owner. "We have it worked out where he is going to be able to go back home when he's healed."
For now, Mason just wants to go back to being a normal puppy.
"He would love to play but we just won't let him," said Lamb. "He's a puppy and he acts like a puppy."
As brave as this hero dog is, there is still one thing that scares him: loud noises.
"After being sucked out of a garage by something that sounds like a freight train," said Lamb. "He does have a little issue with loud noises!"