Non-stop torrential rains in Guatemala are responsible for at least 50 deaths in recent days. In the small village of Joya Grande, near the Mexican border, the start of the rainy season proved especially deadly on May 30.
Rescuers dug frantically, desperate to find anyone who might have survived the initial slide. Tragically, they found no human survivors. At least six people from Joya Grande perished beneath the mud and debris that day.
However, a bright spot in all that sadness shines like a small gem. One extremely fortunate and determined little dog made it out alive.
Could You Bark for 18 Hours? This Little Guy Could
They’re calling him “el Afortunado,” which means “the Lucky One.” Rescuers zeroed in on him under all that dirt and wreckage because they heard what sounded like tapping.
“We were looking for people and always, always was this faint sound, like a permanent rapping or tapping,” Jose Guerdola, one of the rescuers, said.
“We assumed it was someone trapped in a cellar who was hitting a pipe. We dug and dug, and we sweated and slaved, and as we got closer, we realized it was the barking of a dog.”
See video footage of the amazing rescue here:
The rainy season in Guatemala runs from May to November. Residents expect a lot of rain and periodic tropical storms, especially in the late afternoon. This year, though, they’ve been hit particularly hard and the season’s barely begun. The arrival of Tropical Storm Boris dumped so much unexpected rain so quickly that the situation all over Guatemala became dangerous in the blink of an eye.
It’s not clear how this resilient little dog managed to breathe for so long, entombed in the mud. He didn’t give up, though, and barked for all he was worth for 18 hours. It’s the only thing that saved his life.
“When we broke through to where he was, he jumped into our arms and licked our faces,” Guerdola said. “Unfortunately there was no one left alive in the rubble with him, but we took him to safety.”
Veterinarians who checked “the Lucky One” over after he was freed report that he’s in surprisingly good shape, considering his ordeal. He was dehydrated and suffering from mild shock, but otherwise fine. He’s now up for adoption in Guatemala.
Good luck to you, el Afortunado. May you find a new family very soon to love and care for you.
Photo credit: YouTube