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Dust Devil Sweeps Up 70-Pound Lab, Sends Dog Spinning Through the Air Across Lawn

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Kids are known to create colorful retellings of actual events. Many times, parents have to do a lot of work to separate fact from fiction — especially if the case involves a spat and the stories don’t quite line up.

But when all three Wampler children rushed to tell their mom a fantastical story on Tuesday, she was intrigued.

The story went something like this: The kids had been out in front of their home in Weyers Cave, Virginia, when Duke, the family’s 70-pound Labrador Retriever, was suddenly tossed into the air, where he spun several times before crashing back down to the grass.

Her kids maintained their story, and they all had the same one, so Brittany Wampler asked the neighbor for their doorbell camera video to see how tall a tale they were telling.

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Turns out, they had been right. What appeared to be a dust devil came up behind the large dog and effortlessly tossed him into the air.

“It’s still very tough to imagine that you know a 70-pound dog or close to it and how you know, you don’t see that every day,” Wampler told WHSV-TV.

“How would that have happened? He just kind of looked around and was shaken for a minute but you know he went right back to playing with the kids after that.”

The story started to go viral and Wampler shared it on her Facebook page.

“Well Duke the flying lab is ok, thank goodness, and I didn’t entirely believe my kids at first but to see it with my own eyes…can’t deny it,” she wrote. “He’s not up for autographs yet, we’ll keep ya posted.”

“All 3 kids were right there and had quite the stories,” she wrote in a comment on her Facebook post. “That’s why I reached out to neighbors. … I had to see it!”

The pup seems to be unharmed from his brief flight, and many have inquired about his current state. Wampler has responded that he’s doing well, and added that she’s thankful it wasn’t one of her children, instead, who’d been picked up and thrown.

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“I didn’t think to see him dropped or thrown that hard and when I saw it I just replayed it over and over…very glad my youngest wasn’t close by,” she wrote. “Not much weight difference!”

The area has apparently experienced several dust devils lately thanks to the warm, dry conditions. The National Weather Service for Baltimore-Washington even reached out on Twitter to agree that the incident did, indeed, seem to be caused by a dust devil.

While doorbell cameras don’t solve all of life’s unknowns, they have certainly proven useful for identifying porch pirates, catching criminals, spotting random acts of kindness and now recording flying dogs.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking