By now, we all know that tornadoes don’t work like they did in The Wizard of Oz. You don’t wind up in the Land of the Munchkins; all your stuff gets thrown around and destroyed, and in the worst cases, your friends and loved ones are killed.
The worst case is what musician Jonathan Byler Dann thought had happened to his beloved dog, Maggie, when a tornado hit his home in the city of Washington, Illinois. He and his four children had survived by huddling in the basement, but Maggie wouldn’t come when she was called. She was trapped upstairs while the tornado ripped through the house, destroying the infrastructure and reducing it to a pile of rubble. Byler Dann was so sure that Maggie, who had been a member of the family for almost 11 years, had been killed by the tornado that he announced it on his Facebook page.
“We lost our dog Maggie today,” he told concerned friends. “Kids are all great. Rebecca and I are both fine. Maybe she went over the rainbow.”
But as it turned out, Maggie didn’t go over the Rainbow Bridge, although she may have strolled near it. Thirty hours after the tornado hit, the family was combing through the wreckage of their home of five years, trying to see what might still be salvageable. If you’ve ever been in a disaster, afterward is always the worst part. During the actual catastrophe — the storm or earthquake or fire — fear protects you. All you can think of is getting through the next few moments, and keeping yourself safe. But afterward, you have time to think. You have time to look very carefully at what’s happened to your life and calculate how much you’ve lost, and whether you’ll ever have the future that you’d expected for yourself. It’s a cold, precise fear, instead of the panic and hysteria that hits you in the moment.
In the middle of that moment, totaling their losses, members of the Byler Dann family found that they hadn’t lost as much as they had thought. Someone heard a faint bark, and after scraping through layers of rubble, they found Maggie, wrapped in a piece of carpet. Her bones were broken and she was cold and in pain, but alive. The family took her to Teegarden Veterinary Clinic, where she’s now recovering. Condolences and congratulations to Maggie and her family. There aren’t many comforts that you can find in the aftermath of a storm that destroyed your home, but we’re glad that they were able to have that one.