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Dog reunited with owner after 8 days in Kyushu rain rubble

Gunso is seen in this July 15, 2017 photo as he recovers after spending eight days in the rubble, in Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture. (Mainichi)

ASAKURA, Fukuoka -- A family dog was pulled alive from the rubble here on July 13 after spending eight days stranded in the home of his owner destroyed by torrential rains.

    The dog is a small Pomeranian named Gunso, and while he was emaciated from not eating or drinking while trapped in the debris, he is starting to make a recovery after being reunited with his family.

    "Gunso is a member of the family," said the dog's 65-year-old owner Katsuaki Kikuchi, who also owns a persimmon orchard in Asakura. "I am hoping he makes a fast recovery."

    On July 5 when the area was inundated by heavy rains, Kikuchi's home along the Naragaya River was suddenly filled with water above the knee. Kikuchi and his family evacuated the house, but Gunso was nowhere to be found. There was no time to locate the pup, so the family left him praying that he would survive.

    A few days later, the removal of logs and mud from the road to the Kikuchi house had progressed, and the family was finally able to make it back to their residence. Their persimmon orchard planted in the riverbank had taken heavy damage, a storage shed had been completely destroyed by a landslide and a large amount of debris filled the house itself.

    "We had half given up on Gunso," his owner said, considering that the dog had been in a car accident and couldn't move his right leg very well. Still, they continued to remove debris from the house. Finally, on July 13, Kikuchi discovered an emaciated Gunso in a gap in the debris. When he touched the dog, Gunso was still warm -- he had survived.

    The debris had miraculously bent and built up in such a way that created a pocket of air for Gunso. However, unable to escape to eat or drink for eight days, the damage to his little body was severe. Kikuchi then took his dog into his arms and gently gave him water.

    "I'm glad he made it," he said.

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