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A Tornado Story

Written by PETA | May 1, 2008

The dust has cleared a bit from the tornado that hit our area this week, but we’re still working in the community to help people and animals who were affected by the disaster. I found out yesterday that my colleague Cindy Clark, who works in the PETA Foundation’s Development Department, was one of those people—her home was right in the path of the storm. Her story, in addition to being pretty exciting, is also a great reminder about how to keep your head in a disaster like this and do everything you can to ensure that your animals, who rely on you completely, don’t become victims. Here’s how it all went down, according to Cindy:

We evacuated on Monday afternoon when the tornado came to town. I live in a mobile home in Driver. My trailer is fine, thankfully. We were able to return Monday evening, but had to get the heck out of Dodge on Monday afternoon.

It’s odd, but many people have asked me through the years what I would do with my dogs if I ever had to evacuate. Of course, I would never go anywhere in that situation without my dogs.

We were in downtown Suffolk at the school admin building when the storms hit. When we heard the emergency alarm on the radio is basically came down to – you are 20 mins away from your mobile home where your dogs are in the direct path of a tornado. You have 10 mins. GO!

We got to my house, snatched the dogs out, and tried to get away from the storm but only made it about 2 miles from my house. Tornado was straight ahead of us on the right about 1/4 mi, elementary school about 200 yards on the left. SCHOOL!

We vacated the Suburban we were in the fire lane at the school and proceeded to the gym. We were there for about two hours. My dogs calmed the kids that were scared and crying. They were a nice distraction for the kids and my dogs enjoyed tummy rubs, 10 hands at the time.

I like the happy ending. Big thanks are due to the folks at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School and the shelter at Kings Fork High School for being awesome throughout. There’s more info on what you can do to make sure your animals are safe in the event of an emergency here.

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  • Jacqueline says:

    As a broadcast meteorologist warning people nationally of severe weather all the time including this past storm outbreak I will be sure to include animal safety in my recommendations to viewers everywhere about what kind of precautions to take. Thanks for bringing this to everyone’s attention!

  • lynda downie says:

    Wonderful Cindy!

  • HannaBanana says:

    Cindy rocks!

  • Annalena says:

    That is a really sweet story. She has a nice sense of humor in this situation. I am really glad to see brave people who treat their animals like family.I could never leave my canines behind no more than I would abandon a sibling or best friend. Peta has done a great job on informing people to consider their companions when disaster strikes.The helicopter and drowning dog commercial on PETATV in really hard to watch it brings tears to my eyes but it is very well made and effective.

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