Babu, a 12-year-old dog, usually doesn’t even want to leave her house, but on March 11, the day of the disastrous 8.9 earthquake in Japan, the dog insisted she wanted to go outside and go for a walk. Her owner, 83 year old Tami Akanuma, wondered why her pet wanted to go for a walk so much, but she decided to go ahead and take her outside.
Babu then insisted in walking up a nearby hill instead of taking the usual walking route the two frequented in their coastal town of Miyako. Once again, owner Akanuma decided to go along with her insistent pet and followed her up the hill.
That choice just may have saved both their lives because just a few minutes after the two reached the top of the hill, the tsunami hit their town. The damage was horrendous and it flattened the town where the two lived, which was only about 200 yards from the shore.
Babu’s owner says that Babu must have somehow sensed something bad was going to happen. When the original earthquake had hit, their lights and power had gone dead and Babu had gotten excited and started running around the room whining and whimpering and acting half crazy.
At the time, Akanuma thought it was strange that the dog wanted to go outside, but she put her on the leash and headed out the door. The tsunami warning was broadcast over the town’s community speaker system shortly after the pair had left the home.
Akanuma had been in the 1933 Showa Sanriku quake, which had triggered a previous tsunami that left more than 900 people dead or missing in the Taro district. She said that the memory of that disaster made her know they had to evacuate the area.
By that time, the two were huffing and puffing as Babu strained on the leash and seemed to be urging her owner to go faster up the hill. By the time they got to the top, they had walked about a kilometer from their home.
It was then that Akanuma turned around and was shocked at the scene before her. Almost the whole route that she and Babu had traveled just a few minutes before was covered in the waters of the tsunami and her house was under a wall of muddy water.
Akanuma firmly believes her dog knew something bad was up that fateful day. The two are staying in a temporary shelter until they can find a new home for the both of them.