BAGHDAD - The owner of a dog that miraculously survived a massive bombing returned to his collapsed home Wednesday to be reunited with his pet, stunning neighbours who thought he was dead.
The ginger-colored dog was spotted chained to a roof railing and standing on a wall ledge over the collapsed home after Tuesday's huge blast near Iraq's Finance Ministry levelled shops and houses. The attack was part of co-ordinated bombings around Baghdad that claimed at least 127 lives.
"Lots of neighbours thought I was dead," said Farouq Omar Muhei after his dog, Liza, was carried down to the street and began lapping at a puddle.
Iraqi police and rescue officials initially said Muhei and his family were among the victims. But he surprised neighbours when he returned with his 14-year-old son, Omar, after being treated for cuts and other injuries. They were the only family members home at the time of the attack and all his family survived.
Only a few portions of the home remained standing - including one section of the roof where Liza was chained. The dog's water bucket also remained by her side, but was empty when Muhei's brother, Fuad, climbed over the rubble to unchain the dog and carry her down.
The dog was waiting calmly and even yawned as he approached. But Liza appeared to be shaking with joy as she was reunited with Muhei, 46, whose face was laced with cuts.
The thirsty Liza then began to lap water from a puddle.
"After we crawled out of the rubble of our home, I said to my son, 'the dog is dead'," said Muhei, who sells candy and small items in the local market. "But my son said, 'No, I saw her.' I came back today to rescue my dog."
Muhei said he purchased Liza as a puppy six years ago in Baghdad's main pet market. That market was hit by two suicide bombers in February 2008, killing at least 100 people.