On Tuesday September 29, 2009 there was an earthquake 120 miles south of the islands of Samoa. About 15 minutes after the quake, four tsunami waves 15-20 feet high came ashore on American Samoa. The powerful water reached up to a mile inland.
Many individuals lost their homes, their belongings and their lives. The individuals focused in this article are a dog and pig who live on Samoa and survived the traumatic event. Here they tell their stories of the tsunami.
Yellow Lab/Shepherd Mix: Days before the big earthquake, I had been feeling queasy. Every time I would walk I would feel off balance. It started to get worse and I noticed when I traveled across town, away from the ocean, I felt better. My family kept calling me back, but in the end I couldn’t help leaving. I was feeling too sick. So I went across town where I met other dogs that were feeling the same way. We talked about it and we thought something was not right with the ocean and maybe the sea creatures were not happy with the fisherman. We realized the farther we got away the better. And then the earth shook and we ran even farther away and then the water came and knocked us on our sides and we had to swim a little bit. One of the little dogs got hit by pieces of wood and she climbed on one. Three of us swam behind the wood so that we could save the little dog too. We finally got to land again and ran really fast to higher ground. We watched from a distance as everything got destroyed and the waves continued to come. It felt like forever. We were happy to be alive. Some of us were already homeless so those dogs didn’t care they didn’t have a family anymore. But I had a family and I think they may all be dead. I am at a house in the country now getting fed by nice people. I think they are going to find me a new home. I hope I don’t live near the ocean again.
Pig: I also felt the earth feeling strange for days. I thought that I had been in the sun too much. I kept trying to get out of my pen and my people kept putting me back. When the earth shook one of my people opened up the gate of our pen and told us to run to the hills. At first we just froze. We didn’t know why. But he knew why. He grabbed the smallest pig and put him in back of their car and they sped away. I saw some dogs running and the chickens flew high up in the trees. Higher than they ever went. I started to run really fast but I hurt my ankle and had to run slower. Then the water came and I had never swum before and it threw me under the water and I held my breath, which I have never done before. It was so scary. I thought I was going to die. The wave carried me really fast and my body slammed into lots of people and debris. Then the wave pulled me back the opposite direction and I when I opened my eyes I could only see sprays of water. And then the wave came again really powerful and it propelled me really quickly away from the ocean. I hit ground and laid their and then I heard people screaming “run” and I knew I had to get up or it would happen to me again. I got up and started running but my whole body was sore and my eyes were stinging and my ears were clogged and I could barely hear. But I ran and when I hit dry land and I was in a lot of vegetation I collapsed and I lied there. Then a person came and found me and he picked me up and he put me in a van and took me to a home with a lot of other animals. I have a hard time seeing out of one eye and my body is so sore I don’t move much. But they give me medicine and they tell me that they love me, I will live to be very old and that no one will ever eat me.