Barron County tornado survivor surprised with lost dogs - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Barron County tornado survivor surprised with lost dogs


Rice Lake (WQOW) -- Just two days after a tornado destroyed his home, one Barron County man is reunited with two faces he thought he may never see again.

Ron Belcher was a resident of Prairie Lakes Estates. He's one of many who saw his whole life fall to the ground in the wake of Tuesday's tornado touchdown.

"These trailers, if you look around it just makes you want to cry. We lost everything we had," said Belcher. "It came up all of a sudden and then it was so loud, and it got so dark. Your windows are already busted, and you see, like I said, the roof came off. And then things were just flying, refrigerators flying, it was just unbelievable."

Belcher said he believes he was knocked out as the tornado brought down all the walls around him. When he woke up, he said everything was gone, including his two dogs.

"I thought, that when I looked at the rubble and stuff I thought, oh you know. Because she's going to be fifteen, almost made me cry," said Belcher.

Cocoa the Husky and Taz the Pomeranian make up a pair that Belcher describes as his own kids. They're two bundles of fur he thought he may never see again. Belcher was taken to Lakeview Medical Hospital Tuesday for numerous broken bones, stitches and a head injury sustained in the storm.

During his stay, Marshfield Clinic nurse Ciara Rockow spent her free time trying to track the dogs down, eventually locating them at Chetek Animal Hospital. On Thursday, Marshfield Clinic staff surprised Belcher by bringing Cocoa and Taz to his bed side.

"They're alive, both of them. This is God's gift, that's what keeps me moving no matter how many bad things happen," Belcher said.

Hospital staff said Belcher's recovery will take about 6 to 8 weeks.

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