‘When I look at him, I see my father and sister’: New Zealand volcano eruption survivor who lost loved ones in tragedy reunites with her beloved dog after six months in hospital
- Stephanie Browitt survived the 2019 White Island volcano disaster
- She describes the moment she was reunited with her dog Arlo . after six months
- Ms. Browitt’s details of how her dog helped Arlo in her recovery journey
- Browitt and her late sister Krystal bought the puppy 6 months before their trip
A survivor of the White Island volcano disaster in New Zealand recounts the heartwarming moment when she was reunited with her dog and how he helped her heal from the tragedy.
Stephanie Browitt and her dog Arlo were featured on the Melbourne-based Humans Facebook page, where she shared how much her four-legged friend helped her through her lengthy recovery.
Next to the image, Ms. Browitt recalls the 2019 tragedy that took the lives of her younger sister Krystal and father Paul, “leaving just me, my mother and our beautiful dog Arlo.”
“My sister Krystal and I only got him together six months before we went on a cruise to New Zealand, so he was just a puppy when it all happened,” she told Humans in Melbourne.
“We were only going to be gone for two weeks, so we put him in a kennel, but two weeks became much longer.”
New Zealand White Island survivor Stephanie Browitt and her dog Arlo have appeared on Humans’ Facebook page in Melbourne
After six months in the hospital, Mrs. Browitt was reunited with Arlo on his first birthday
Her mother Marie Browitt (left) was the only family member staying on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship when tragedy struck
Despite being in a coma for three weeks and in the hospital for six weeks, Mrs. Browitt was determined to return home for fear of not seeing her puppy grow up.
She describes the touching moment she was able to see Arlo for the first time since the tragedy.
“On Arlo’s first birthday, I was able to get my day pass from the hospital to see him for the first time since the eruption,” the message read.
“I was so afraid he’d forget about me or he wouldn’t recognize me because I looked different with the mask on and my bandages and everything…well, I was completely wrong!”
She recounts the moment when they were reunited for the first time since the tragedy as “pure joy” and said that Arlo ran to her as soon as he heard her voice.
Arlo has been instrumental in Ms. Browitt’s recovery since the disaster and considered every moment with him “a blessing.”
Since her sister’s death, Mrs. Browitt has devoted herself to raising Arlo and revealed that her sister was studying to become a veterinarian.
“He was mine and my sisters’ and I want to raise him for her,” she said.
Krystal described the dog as her sister’s “baby” and brushed the dog’s teeth every night and pampered him.
the 25-year-old was touring White Island with her younger sister Krystal and her father Paul when the volcano erupted
The 25-year-old has since amassed a massive TikTok following after sharing details about her lengthy recovery
“When I look at him, I see my sister and my father, he’s family.” She said.
Stephanie Browitt, 25, was touring the island with her sister Krystal, 21, and their father Paul when the volcano erupted off the coast of Whakatane in New Zealand on December 9, 2019.
She survived the tragedy that claimed 22 lives, in which she suffered more than 70 percent of the burns to her body and lost part of her fingers.
Mrs. Browitt’s mother Marie was the only family member staying on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship when the eruption occurred.
Since the harrowing ordeal, Ms. Browitt has been a beacon of strength, sharing her journey further TikTok attracting more than 645,000 followers, for her candid posts about her lengthy recovery process.
The photo of Mrs. Browitt and Arlo in Chris Cincotta’s book, “Dogs in Melbourne‘.