‘When I look at him I see my dad and sister’: Survivor of New Zealand volcano eruption who lost loved ones in the tragedy is reunited with her beloved dog after six months in hospital
- Stephanie Browitt survived the 2019 White Island volcano disaster in 2019
- She describes the moment she was reunited with her dog Arlo after six months
- Ms Browitt’s details how her dog Arlo has helped with her recovery journey
- Browitt and her late sister Krystal bought the puppy 6 months before their trip
A survivor of the New Zealand White Island volcano disaster shares the heartwarming moment 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 Humans in Melbourne Facebook page where she detailed how much her four-legged friend helped her during her lengthy recovery.
Alongside the image, Ms Browitt recalls the 2019 tragedy which claimed the lives of her younger sister Krystal and father Paul, ‘leaving just me, my mum and our gorgeous dog Arlo.’
‘My sister Krystal and I got him together only 6 months before we went on the cruise to New Zealand, so he was just a puppy when it all happened’ she told the Humans in Melbourne.
‘We were only supposed to be gone for two weeks so we put him in a kennel, but two weeks turned into much longer.’
New Zealand White Island survivor Stephanie Browitt and her dog Arlo have appeared on the Humans in Melbourne Facebook page
After six months in hospital Ms Browitt reunited with Arlo on his first birthday
Her mother Marie Browitt (left) was the only member of the family to stay on the Ovation of the Seas cruise ship when the tragedy struck
Despite spending three weeks in a coma and six weeks at hospital, Ms Browitt was determined to return home fearing she was missing out on 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 hospital to see him for the first time since the eruption,’ the post read.
‘I was so worried he had forgotten me or that he wouldn’t recognise me because I looked different with the mask on and my bandages and everything…well I was totally wrong!’
She recounts the moment they reunited for the first time since the tragedy as ‘pure joy’, saying Arlo ran towards her the second he heard her voice.
Arlo has been essential in Ms Browitt’s recovery since the disaster, counting each moment with him as ‘a blessing’.
Since her sister’s death, Ms Browitt has dedicated herself to raising Arlo, revealing her sister was studying to become a veterinary nurse.
‘He was mine and my sisters and I want to raise him for her’ she said.
Describing the dog as her sister’s ‘baby’, Krystal would brush the dog’s teeth every night and pamper 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 huge TikTok following after sharing details about her lengthy recovery
‘When I look at him I see my sister and my dad, he is 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 which claimed 22 lives, suffering over 70 per cent of burns to her body and losing part of her fingers.
Ms Browitt’s mother Marie was the only member of the family to stay 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 on TikTok attracting over 645,000 followers, for her candid posts on her lengthy recovery process.
Ms Browitt and Arlo’s photo feature in Chris Cincotta’s book, ‘Dogs in Melbourne’.