They say that cats have nine lives, but one UA Little Rock student-athlete believes it’s a miracle that she found her beloved dog, a 4-year-old Australian Shepherd named Remy, alive and well after he was trapped in her apartment for almost a day following the devastating tornado that struck Little Rock on March 31.
Lindsey Hutcheson, a member of the women’s cross country and track and field team, was running with teammates during a practice when the tornado siren alarms went off on Friday afternoon. She and her teammates took cover in the basement of the university’s dormitory while they watched news coverage.
“I was panicked because my dog was home alone,” Hutcheson said. “I was crying the whole time because I could see on the news where the tornado hit my apartment complex.”
After the tornado passed, Hutcheson made her way to her third-floor apartment at Calais Forest Apartments, located at 500 Napa Valley Dr. in Little Rock. She had to park about three-quarters of a mile away because of the blocked roadways. She was met with utter destruction.
“I saw that some of the buildings in my complex were completely destroyed,” Hutcheson said. “In my building, my apartment was the only one whose roof got torn off. When I saw it, I ran down because I was panicking. I went under the caution tape, but I was told I couldn’t go in. I fell on the ground crying because my dog was in there.”
Hutcheson’s parents, who live south of Hot Springs, made it to her apartment about half an hour after she did. The family was eventually able to search the apartment, but it was covered by pieces of roof, insulation, rubble, and debris. They didn’t find Remy, nor could they hear him.
Confusion ensued. They noticed that part of the wall was torn open and wondered if Remy might have jumped out of the apartment and wandered off. Further complicating matters, a neighbor told Hutcheson that they had seen someone rescue Remy from the apartment. Believing it to be the apartment’s maintenance staff, Hutcheson was once again disappointed to learn that they had no idea where the dog was.
With it not being safe to go back into the apartment, Hutcheson went home with her parents where she got just a few restless hours of sleep. They returned the following morning to search the apartment again. This time, Hutcheson’s mom Paige tried kicking in the door to her bedroom, which was blocked by pieces of insulation, and that is when Hutcheson spotted Remy.
“I tried to dig the insulation out, and then I saw his little butt sticking out of the debris,” Hutcheson said. “I don’t know how or why, but he’s fine. I probably lost everything else. Honestly, he is all I cared about. Everything else can be replaced, but I just wanted him to be found.”
Hutcheson now believes that Remy was likely in his bed in her bedroom when the tornado hit, and that he got trapped under the debris, but does not know why he didn’t respond when they searched the apartment the first time.
Hutcheson’s mother made a post about the search for Remy that was shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook. Hutcheson is thankful for all the people who took the time to try to help them find Remy.
“It means the world to me that people would take time out of their day to read our post,” Hutcheson said. “If Remy was out there and that’s how we found him, we would have been so grateful. I am so glad that people care, and that they did that for me.”
Hutcheson, who is earning an MBA, will graduate from UA Little Rock in May. Until then, she is grateful to be staying with a family friend in Little Rock. With the state of her apartment, it’s unlikely she will be able to return there. Her parents, who both work in insurance, are helping her with her insurance claim. Meanwhile, she feels incredibly lucky that she wasn’t at home when the tornado struck, and that she has been reunited with her best friend.
“It could always be worse,” she said. “I know there are people who have it worse than me right now, so I can’t complain. I’m just glad Remy was found.”
Hutcheson is scheduled to compete for the Trojans this Friday at the Little Rock Invitational, the program’s annual home meet held at the Coleman Sports Complex. She is scheduled to run in the 1,500-meter at approximately 1:40 p.m. and then again in the 800-meter race at approximately 3:10 p.m.