After his owner’s house abruptly exploded on Aug. 30, Buddy the dog briefly returned to the wreckage in Taylor, Pennsylvania.
Then the dog spent about two days in the surrounding area — even running away from coyotes — until he made a second trip near the remains of the house he once shared with owner Brian Ott, neighbor Annie Shingler confirmed to McClatchy.
At around 8:30 p.m., the explosion destroyed the house and left one man stuck under the rubble, according to WPVI.
Authorities say Ott was inside the house during the time of the explosion, which sent him to the hospital with severe injuries, WNEP reported.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
In a statement to McClatchy, Shingler said Buddy was seen running loose outside of his owner’s property just before the blast destroyed Ott’s home and left eight other houses damaged, with four families displaced.
At first, Buddy made his way back to the house while first responders tried to pull Ott from the rubble, according to PA Homepage.
Denise Kumor, CEO of the animal rescue group Tracey’s Hope, said the dog’s singed hair and burns on his paws suggest Buddy might have tried to look for Ott through the wreckage. She told WNEP that it “proves” the bond between a pet and owner.
And while speaking to WNEP, Shingler said that Buddy “must have been looking for Brian” since he was burned.
She told McClatchy that Buddy “would be dead” if he had been in his owner’s yard when the explosion went off.
“He had to be far enough away from the house to survive,” she said.
Buddy roamed free until Saturday — and even survived a run-in with coyotes as they chased him, PA Homepage reported. Thomas McGovern, an officer with the Taylor Police Department, said that the dog “didn’t look to have any bite wounds or anything.”
He ended up at Shingler’s yard just under two days after the explosion. On Facebook, the woman shared an image of Buddy drinking out of a water bowl after he was found safe.
Shingler asked, “Can anyone help?”
The woman in that picture is Joanne Juba. Shingler told McClatchy that Juba reached out to McGovern, who in turn contacted Kumor at her animal rescue group. Shingler said that the police officer helped load Buddy into her car, and she took the dog to a Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center.
With the help of Tracey’s Hope — which is covering veterinary expenses — Buddy has since found a foster family, Shingler told McClatchy. The foster arrangement was OK’d by Ott’s family as the man continues to recover from his injuries, WNEP reported.
Ott was put into a medically induced coma, according to PA Homepage, and Buddy is on a regimen of pain medication and antibiotics. As Buddy heals, Kumor said the dog, who is “traumatized,” keeps “looking for his owner.”
Shingler told McClatchy that it appears Buddy is still trying to emotionally recover from the sudden explosion, as evidenced by his reaction to fireworks this week.
“Buddy always howled at sirens though,” she said, “but (his) foster mom says he didn’t do well with the fireworks.”
“None of us did,” she added. “We are all pretty shell-shocked these days.”