We’ve covered countless stories of the amazing lengths that a human will go to save the life of an animal in need, and stories of how the love a guardian can completely transform their animal companion. We rarely ever come across a story of an animal companion saving their guardian. But when Italy was struck with a massive earthquake, one such story of a woman and her dog emerged.

After suffering a 6.2 magnitude earthquake that reduced entire towns to rubble, a small town in Italy was struck with a 4.1 magnitude aftershock early in the morning. In the midst of a tragedy, in which an estimated 250 lost their lives and even more lost everything, comes a heartwarming story that shows the strength of the bond that we share with our animal companions. Anna M., a woman who lived alone in one of the affected areas, was at home when Rudy, her German Shepherd, began acting strangely. Anna told Italian news outlet, La Nozione, “Rudy had been nervous since early evening. I didn’t understand why. I thought he had seen someone or some cat. Then, at about two in the morning, he began running through the house, barking like a madman.” When Anna brushed him off, Rudy didn’t give up and later on that night, he grabbed his guardian’s jersey with his mouth and started to pull. Even after being told to stop, Rudy was relentless, so Anna allowed him to pull her out of the house. Moments later, the aftershock struck.

“I didn’t understand why, but [Rudy] started to pull me by the jersey. He didn’t stop, even after I reproached him, so I decided to let him lead me away and then moments later, hell broke loose,” Anna told La Nozione.



Several studies have shown that animals are sensitive to earthquakes. In 1975, residents of a Chinese city were perplexed when dogs and other animals began showing signs of anxiety, which lead to an order from city officials for all residents to evacuate. Hours later, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit, destroying most of the city in the process. So, Rudy wasn’t just acting up — he was trying to warn his guardian of about the impending danger and when she wrote it off as strange behavior, Rudy took matters into his own paws.

Fighting her tears, Anna told La Nozione “I am grateful to Rudy. He’s such a smart dog and now I owe him my life. I just hope we can survive now.” Anna, like many others in Italy, has lost friends, family, and all of her possessions due to the earthquake. But it’s because of Rudy and his love for his guardian that they’re both alive.

Lead image source: La Nozione