Before Monday's tornado hit, Barbara Garcia says, she had a gameplan. In the event of an emergency, the Moore, Okla., resident would gather up her little dog and retreat to a bathroom to wait out the storm. But after Monday's powerful twister blew through her neighborhood, Garcia tells CBS News, she couldn't find her dog.
And in a stroke of luck that added a rare bright spot to what has been a sad story of widespread devastation and loss of life, Garcia, bearing scrapes and bruises from her ordeal, was suddenly reunited with her pooch.
Garcia's story has been a hit, with the CBS video of the dog's rescue being passed around on Twitter.
I just bawled my eyes out at this: Tornado Survivor Finds Dog During TV Interview news.sky.com/story/1093711/…— Michael McDonald (@mcdonaldcomedy) May 21, 2013
The reunion came as Garcia was describing how the tornado destroyed her home, and covered her with rubble.
"When it stopped, I was right there — that Presto cooker is what I saw," Garcia told CBS News' Anna Werner, pointing to an area where she found herself lying in the remains of her house.
"And I hollered for my little dog, and he didn't answer, or didn't come," Garcia said, speaking over a nearly constant wail of sirens in the distance. "So I know he's in here, somewhere."
It turned out that Garcia, who maintained a remarkable degree of clarity and composure during the interview, was right. The dog was very close by — it seems the news crew was the first to spot it, peeking out from under a large piece of sheet metal.
"Bless your itty-bitty heart," Garcia said, as she crouched down to see her dog (who to this inexpert blogger looks to be a Schnauzer), peering out from beneath a pile of wreckage.
With a bit of help from the camera crew, Garcia freed the dog, who seemed to have suffered no major injuries from the storm. Later images showed the dog walking alongside his owner.
Garcia declared that both of her prayers — for her survival, and for her dog's — had been answered.
As a slideshow of images posted by NPR member station KGOU proves, Garcia wasn't the only person in Moore who walked away from her wrecked home with her pet. Photos taken by Joe Wertz showed at least two other animals being rescued from the devastation.