On 9th January between 4PM and 5PM a 6.5 magnitude earthquake with an epicenter just offshore of Eureka on the Pacific coast of California caused some $20 million in damage. Officials claim to have received over 200 claims of damage but aside from cuts and bruises nobody was seriously injured. The offices of the daily newspaper serving Eureka and the North Coast, the Times-Standard, are located in Eureka and sustained considerable damage.
CCTV camera footage inside the offices of the newspaper captured events leading up to the earthquake and continued recording throughout. Times-Standard copy editor Jessica Richelderfer and production technician Brian Wheeler bring their Labrador Retriever called Sophie to work every day and the video appears to show Sophie sensing the earthquake before it struck.
"She happened to be sitting in view of the surveillance camera, which shows her reaction before and during the earthquake. When we saw the video, we really weren’t surprised by her reaction – she’s always been a very bright and loyal companion. But after we watched the footage a few times, we realized she sensed that before anyone, and at the very least she knew something bad was about to happen. We always knew our dog was smart – but we didn’t know she could smell an earthquake coming!" said Brian Wheeler on his blog.
Many of the comments received by Wheeler ask why Sophie appeared to run in the opposite direction to the exit. "The fact is she was running to find Jessica, whose desk was at the other end of the room. Jessica, however, was washing her hands at the restroom sink when it started. When Jessica wasn’t at her desk, Sophie rounded the corner and spotted her coming from the restroom and proceeded to escort her safely down the stairwell and out of the building," added Wheeler.