The video shows a dog ambling around a snowy backyard. She suddenly bolts as heavy branches crash to the ground where she was standing just seconds before, a result of the ice storm and heavy winds that punished Toronto on Sunday.
“All of a sudden, I heard this really loud crack,” said Ben Lucier, who made the video of his dog Sprocket in the backyard of his East York home. “I just dropped to my knees and called, ‘Come on, come on, come on, hurry up.’ As soon as the crack went, she was running toward me.”
Lucier’s video was widely shared on social media, with commenters on Facebook remarking on Sprocket’s swift reaction.
“Wow, smart doggo,” said one. “So fortunate that Sprocket had a 6th sense,” said another.
Sprocket wasn’t the only one dealing with fallen branches in the wake of the weekend’s storm. By Monday, the city had received 534 calls for tree-related issues, and had more than 60 forestry crews at work.
Lucier told the Star on Monday that the branches Sprocket dodged left debris resting on his fence that was threatening to push it over, but he was just happy his dog was safe.
“When I think of what could have happened, it’s a feel-good situation,” he said. “Nobody got hurt. I was so glad (Sprocket) was OK. Our dogs are our babies. Our life kind of centres around them.”
Lucier said the branches came from a tree in his neighbour’s yard, which had a large, visible split in it long before this weekend’s storm.
“It’s been that way for years,” he said. “You could actually see when a big gust of wind came up, the gap in that crack would extend to two to three inches. With all the wind and everything it just couldn’t handle it. It was pretty much just a matter of time.”
The towering Siberian elm had been wrapped with a cable for six years in an attempt to repair the split, said owner Michael Jansen.
Jansen said an arborist would be dropping by to assess the damage and provide a quote to clean it up. The tree may eventually have to come down, he added.
“I’m just relieved that no one got hurt,” Jansen said, adding he’s glad his neighbour is taking “it all in stride.”
“The fact that that dog got out of the way is totally remarkable. Most humans wouldn’t have made it out,” Jansen said.