Jon Byler Dann survived the devastating tornado that struck Washington, Ill., by hunkering down in the basement with his four children, ages 8, 5, 2½ and 1½.
An important member of the family was still in harm's way, however.
Before the storm, as debris started to hit his house, Byler Dann says he had tried to coax the family dog, Maggie, into the safe room with the family.
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. Totally leveled.
Maggie was missing and presumed dead.
Nearly 30 hours later, while searching through all that was left of his home, 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 pain.
But the disheveled canine was alive.
After giving his companion water, Byler Dann posted her photo to his Facebook page while his friends arranged to drive her to a local vet's office.
Maggie is being treated for broken bones and possible internal injuries, but should be okay. Byler Dann, 37, has had Maggie, 11, since she was a puppy.
“I felt intense relief and elation but also panic," he says. "I'm very thankful and blessed to have my wife and my children. And finding my dog was just unreal."
UPDATE: The happy ending doesn't end there.
Hours after photos of Byler Dann and Maggie were posted to Reddit, the online community began to pitch in to cover the canine's medical expenses.
"A dislocated hip is pretty expensive to fix (like $1000). Does he need help with funds?" one user asked, setting up a fundraiser. Money began pouring in.
The donations quickly met and exceeded Maggie's costs.
The remaining funds are now being utilized to help other animals at the clinic where the injured dog was treated and at shelters in the affected area.