MATSUYAMA, Japan (Kyodo) -- A Shiba Inu dog was rescued from beneath rubble six days after going missing during last month's landslides in western Japan, brightening the small community devastated by the disaster.
Kinuko Miyamoto, a 72-year-old neighbor rejoiced over the survival of the 7-year-old female dog 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 nursery home two years ago.
On the morning of July 7, an upstream dam collapsed, causing landslides that crashed into Minami's home. Miyamoto searched for the dog the next day but could not hear any response.
"Poor Minami. You are buried," thought Miyamoto. 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, found the face of a dog 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 messed up hair, it was Minami.
Local residents were delighted at the news. Miyamoto shed tears, saying, "I never thought I would meet 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."