Jon Byler Dann, right, survived the devastating tornado that struck Washington, Ill., by hunkering down in the basement clutching his four children – ages 8, 5, 2½ and 1½. But an important member of the family was still in harm’s way.
Before the storm, as debris started to hit his house, Byler Dann had tried to coax the family dog, Maggie, into the safe room. The skittish animal refused to leave her kennel. After the storm passed, Byler Dann emerged from the basement to find that his home of five years had been destroyed above him. Maggie was missing and Byler Dann assumed his beloved pet was dead.
Nearly 30 hours later, while searching through all that was left of 1322 Coventry Drive, family friends heard a faint bark coming from beneath where they were standing.
They immediately started digging and discovered Maggie buried beneath the rubble, wrapped in a piece of carpeting. Byler Dann burst into tears. Maggie was shivering, filthy and in obvious pain. But she was alive.
After giving her water, Byler Dann posted her photo to his Facebook page while friends arranged to drive her to a local veterinarian’s office – Teegarden Veterinary Clinic. Maggie is being treated for a dislocated hip, but is expected to be okay. Byler Dann, 37, has had the 11-year-old dog since she was 4 months old.
“I felt intense relief and elation but also just panic,” Byler Dann says of finding Maggie injured. “I’m very thankful and blessed to have my wife and my children. And finding my dog today was just unreal.”
UPDATE: Maggie was doing well Wednesday morning after receiving treatment for a dislocated hip, doctors at the Teegarden Veterinary Clinic told weather.com, adding that it appeared she would not need surgery.
“So far we’re keeping our fingers crossed and [saying] lots of prayers, and [the hip] is staying in place,” said Dr. Michael Thomas, a veterinarian from the clinic.
“We just got her out here a little bit ago, and she’s walking and using that leg, and doing pretty good,” he added, noting that aside from “a little harshness” they found on x-rays of her lungs yesterday, she appears in good condition. “She’s eating and drinking, and everything looks good.”
Donations have poured in from around the country to cover the cost of Maggie’s care, which Thomas estimated would fall between $600 and $1,000. By the end of the day yesterday, the clinic had received about $3,500 in donations, he said.
“It really says a lot about the generosity of people, and our country,” he added. “We’re getting calls thanks to your story from all over the whole country. It’s amazing, people from Connecticut, New York, all over really – people who have seen the story and want to donate, and we tell them that we’ve got enough for Maggie, but they say just put it towards other patients.”
The clinic is working with the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to set up a fund to treat other pets who have been injured in the storm, Thomas said, adding that he hoped to have the fund in operation late Wednesday.
Terrell Johnson and Allie Goolrick contributed to this report originally appearing on http://www.weather.com