Didi Fritts and her husband James were in the kitchen of their home when they heard a loud roar. They had two dogs: Sammy, a black Labrador retriever and his sister Lilli. Lilli was about 2 feet from Mr Fritts when the house collapsed internally. Lilli was crushed to death and Mr Fritts survived but he was very lucky. His wife, Didi, also survived and managed to crawl out using all her strength. She sought help. They both feel blessed to have made it. They’d presumed that both their dogs had been killed.
However, on Thursday six days after the landslide partially crushed their home, a neighbour reported hearing a dog whimpering.
The rescuers found Sammy under the rubble where he’d survived for six days. He was next to his dead sister. When Didi Fritts saw him, she said “It’s mommy!”. That was the moment when a firefighter emerged with her three-year-old dog. The reunion was bittersweet because of the loss of life of Sammy’s sister.
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The home was on a hill in the Magnolia neighbourhood of Seattle overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The rescue team “pulled apart the entire floor” and got Sammy out. They said, “She looked like she had just enough room to survive. She wasn’t crushed by anything, or punctured. She had just a tiny bit of room. I guess she was surviving on rainwater the past couple of days. It’s just unbelievable that she is still alive”.
They had been looking for living dogs. It was assumed that they had both died in the crushed house. There was not much left of the house although from the outside it looks somewhat intact.
A neighbour and friend, Remi Olivier said: “We found her right next to our sister. She’s been next to the other dog this whole time.”
James Fritts said: “I just want to say thank you to the Seattle Fire Department and the EMTs and my neighbours and all the amazing people. We are miracles and every day is a gift. So, pay it forward and be of service.”