By Karina Gonzalez
Photo: Lena, a Great Dane, survived the April 10 Merrill tornado. The dog is pictured at her Appleton foster home with 4-year-old Sidney Pollock. / Photo courtesy of Steve Pollock
MERRILL — Brent Scantlin and his 12-year-old daughter brought their newly adopted dog, Lena, home April 10 and did what any other family would do.
They got her used to her new home. Played with her. Grilled out in the evening, giving Lena a few morsels from the grill.
Then the tornado came.
“I could hear glass shattering. (The dog) ran out (of the basement) and literally got sucked (out of the house),” Scantlin, 44, said, recalling the night of the storm. “I thought she was gone forever.”
There was good reason to believe that. After the tornado passed, Scantlin and his daughter, Alisha, emerged from the home’s basement to find their Aspen Boulevard home all but gone.
A block away, Scantlin caught a glimpse of the dog’s favorite blanket in a pile of debris. He climbed the brush to retrieve the only reminder he had of Lena’s brief time with the family.
“I didn’t anticipate her surviving,” Scantlin said.
But 6-year-old Lena, a 135-pound Great Dane, did survive. She was found by police wandering the streets and was taken to the Lincoln County Humane Society. And now she and her owners are being reunited.
“It was very impressive that, with all the trees coming down in her area, that she was OK,” said Liz Friedenfels, Humane Society manager.
Lena wasn’t the only dog separated from a family during the storm. Friedenfels said a collie mix dog named Buddy and a chow mix named Keisha both have been reunited with their families.
But Lena still is waiting to see her adopted owners as Scantlin is working to secure a temporary feline-free home where he can stay with his daughter and Lena. Scantlin is now staying at his parent’s home in Merrill where a cat lives. The cat is afraid of dogs — particularly 135-pound dogs the size of small ponies.
Appleton residents Steve and Melissa Pollock are caring for Lena in the meantime. The Pollocks serve as foster parents for the Upper Midwest Great Dane Rescue, the group from which Scantlin’s dog was adopted.
The Pollocks offered their home after hearing of the devastation.
“Lena has been a real treat to have,” Steve Pollock said Friday. But the dog obviously hasn’t forgotten her ordeal during the storm.
“She is a little skittish,” Steve Pollock said.