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The UNBELIEVABLE story of Blarney

Blarney's parents were both killed by a horrible tornado in Cincinatti on April 9, 1999. ..
This is how they found Blarney after the tornado.  Tied to an overturned SUV.

A very dirty Blarney, the old English Sheepdog is sitting in front of a scene of devastation, and he is tied with a rope through the broken windows of an overturned Sport Utility Vehicle.

After surviving the Tornado that killed his owners, Blarney passed away from cancer about  six months later.  I believe he died of a broken heart.

All of the following links have been removed off of the web. I should have saved them myself.... I'm leaving them here ... but I don't know why.  [-Ron, January, 2002]

UPDATE!!!  I have been very fortunate to find some of the Blarney pages on www.Archive.org. What a great site! [-Ron, February 2005]


Orphaned dog has broken pelvis, heart
(originally enquirer.com/editions/1999/04/11/loc_orphaned_dog_has.html -- still lost :( )
BY JANE PRENDERGAST  -- The Cincinnati Enquirer. April 11, 1999


Blarney the sheepdog will make it, with lots of love
(originally enquirer.com/editions/1999/04/18/loc_blarney_sheepdog.html Found 2/23/2005)
   BY TOM O'NEILL The Cincinnati Enquirer. April 18, 1999

The Cincinnati Enquirer


No one knew where Blarney belonged. Turns out it's with all of us.

A photograph of the 5-year-old Old English sheepdog appeared in the April 10 Enquirer. He was tied by a rope to an upside-down Chevy Blazer, lost and bewildered. His owners, Lee and Jacque Cook, were killed in the April 9 tornado. The emotional dominoes started falling.

A neighbor, Linda Lacinak, took him to Madeira Veterinary Hospital, where Blarney was treated for a fractured pelvis and an abrasion above his left eye.

A close friend of the Cooks for 11 years, Linda Cioffi, saw the Enquirer photo and stopped cold.

"Seeing that photo of him, tied, he was traumatized, it was very hard," said Mrs. Cioffi, a grandmother of four with a fifth on the way.

She called the hospital, which by then had been inundated with 20 offers to take Blarney, veterinarian Lisa Beck estimated. Packages of dog biscuits and even cookies poured in.

On Wednesday, Mrs. Cioffi took Blarney home to her Monfort Heights house, with its expansive back yard and loving family. The Cooks' two grown children, Ryan and Shannyn, were agreeable and will be frequent visitors.

Blarney goes on daily walks without a brace and is expected to recover fully, severe haircut notwithstanding. He's the same embraceable sheepdog he was before he became something of a media darling, temporary orphan and symbol of perseverance.

"I hope that with all that Lee and Jacque did for their community and church, I truly believe you get that back tenfold," Mrs. Cioffi said. "And you're seeing that out there."

Oh yeah, one more thing: Why the name Blarney?

"He's full of himself," Mrs. Cioffi said, laughing.

Yes, but not without good reason.


Blarney Updates
(Originally members.aol.com/_ht_a/cincydoggy/update.htm  Found 2/23/2005
By Linda Cioffi -- Blarney's new owner.  July 7, 1999

By Linda Cioffi
Blarney's new owner

Blarney has Splint Removed

A few weeks after Blarney arrived at his new home, he broke his leg while playing with his buddy, Roxie, a 17 lb Shitz Szu mix. He had a hairline fracture from the tornado that went undiscovered by his veterinarian and when he slipped playing with Roxie he completed the break. Blarney had his splint removed on Friday, July 2nd, and is doing very well. Although he is still afraid of storms, Blarney is happily adjusting to his new home although he misses his previous owners.

Blarney to be in a Documentary Called 'Tornado'

Pioneer Productions from London, England, filmed Blarney in June for a documentary on surviving tornadoes and tornado safety, which will air on TLC (The Learning Channel), in early 2000. The producers of the film, stated in a recent letter that 'Blarney's sequence (in the film) looks very impressive…It is rare we get to film a dog who is so relaxed in front of the camera.' Blarney seemed to have a great deal of fun and really enjoyed all of the attention during filming.

Blarney's AKC Registration Found 60 Miles from Home

We knew that Blarney had been lucky to survive the powerful tornado and about a week afterward, we received another example of just how lucky he was. About a week after the tornado we received a call from a farmer in Oregonia, Ohio, (which is near Wilmington about 60 miles north of Blarney's home) who found Blarney's AKC registration and many of the Cooks personal items on his farm. The awesome power of the tornado had carried these items from Cincinnati and landed them on his farm.



Blarney fights again -- and loses his battle with cancer
(Originally members.aol.com/cincydoggy/loses.htm Found 2/23/2005)
By Dom Cioffi -- Blarney's Angel.  November 13, 1999

By Dom Cioffi

It is with great sadness that we are writing this update on Blarney.

A short time after taking Blarney in, we began to notice strange bumps on his skin. At first Blarney's vet thought the bumps were foreign objects embedded in his skin from the trauma of the tornado. The vet performed an operation to remove the bumps.

In July, we found out that the bumps were tumors, not foreign objects in his skin. Blarney had a form of cancer called Basil cell carcinoma. Soon a second operation was performed to remove the cancerous bumps on Blarney's skin. Blarney appeared to be doing well after the second operation, and they though they had removed all of the cancer, but soon after the second operation the cancerous bumps reappeared and we learned that there was nothing that could be done to save Blarney.

It was then just a matter of time now for Blarney. We did everything we could to make Blarney comfortable in his last days. By August 9th,the cancer had spread to throughout his body and vital organs. This was a very fast moving cancer and we were all very surprised and saddened that it had spread so much so quickly. On August 9th, Blarney succumbed to his cancer.

We want to thank everyone for their kind and caring phone calls and e-mails in support of Blarney after losing his family to the tornado.

We will be leaving Blarney's web site up both in memory of Blarney and the Cooks, and as a reminder of tornado safety.

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