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Illinois National Guardsman’s pit bull found in wreckage after tornado

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Updated: December 30, 2013 12:28PM

An Illinois National Guardsman said Thursday he experienced “crazy relief” when his dog was found alive in the wreckage of his apartment — more than a week after a tornado struck Downstate Washington, Ill.

Spc. Jacob Montgomery said he was at his civilian job in Peoria on Nov. 17 when the tornado destroyed his third-floor apartment in Washington. His 6-month-old pit bull, Dexter, was in the home at the time and did not emerge from the rubble until Tuesday, Montgomery said.

“Apparently he waited in the apartment for nine days,” Montgomery said in a telephone interview Thursday. “I don’t know how or why he did that, but he just did.”

A member of Rescuing Animals in Need of Central Illinois Inc. was looking for Dexter and other animals that vanished after the tornado and “saw his ears sticking up” from the rubble of the apartment building’s top floor, said Randy Wheat, the president of the group based in Downstate Danvers.

The volunteer who spotted the dog called for the building’s maintenance worker, who brought a ladder to reach Dexter, Wheat said. The building’s roof and walls were blown off, he said. Dexter was found near the spot on the apartment’s floor where the kitchen sink had ended up after the tornado.

The dog “was emaciated,” Wheat said. “You could see his ribs. That said, he checked out OK. He had nothing to eat and drink except snow.”

Wheat said Montgomery had stood outside the ruined apartment building calling out Dexter’s name every day since the tornado.

A neighbor sent a Facebook message, “I’ve got your dog right here,” to Montgomery, according to a news release from the Illinois Army National Guard.

“It was a feeling of crazy relief,” Montgomery said. “I did not give up. I just had a feeling.”


Twitter: @dmihalopoulos

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