Dog survives being picked up by tornado, thrown 1,000 feet

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DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. -- A dog picked up and thrown across the road in a tornado is spending his first week at home.

Lewis Vannoy says his dog, Duke, was thrown about 1,000 feet when a tornado came through Davie County in North Carolina almost three weeks ago.

“Picked up in the mass of the swirling wind, picked up and tossed just like a ragdoll,” Vannoy said.

The 12-year-old Australian shepard survived.

“When I got to him, he was across the road in the pasture,” Vannoy said. “He could hardly walk. He was in severe pain. He was lethargic and crying.”

Vannoy said Duke’s right leg was broken in multiple places and his retina was damaged. The dog had multiple surgeries and spent some time at the vet.

“He’s going to have a full recovery,” Vannoy said.

As Duke makes himself comfortable at home, Vannoy is still processing his loss.

“Thirty-five years to build it, 35 seconds to destroy it,” Vannoy said. “Home, barns, garage, tractors, lawn mowers, there's nothing here that doesn't have damage on it.”

Vannoy said his home is too damaged to fix.

“I’ll build another house and we will make more memories,” Vannoy said.

He said cleaning his property will likely take between a year and a half to two years.

“I ain't giving up,” Vannoy said.

He is happy to be alive.

“It makes you hold on to your children and your grandchildren a little longer,” Vannoy said.

He’s also happy to have Duke with him.

“You really become attached,” Vannoy said.

Vannoy said he also had a horse that was thrown by the tornado and survived.

What he wants people to know to is to take cover during a tornado warning. He said his situation could have been much worse.

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