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Illinois Tornado Victim Finds His Dog Buried Alive in "Unreal" Story of Survival

Maggie, Tornado Dog CHARLES LEDFORD/UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS/WEATHER.COM

"This truly was a great end to a dismal day."

So says a friend of Jon Byler Dann, 37, a Washington, Ill. father of four who was reunited with his dog, Maggie, after believing she died in the tornadoes that swept the Midwest this week (via Weather.com). 

Right before the storm hit, Byler Dann and his family sought safety in the basement, but he was unable to coax Maggie into leaving her kennel. The tornado completely destroyed his home and Maggie went missing.

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Maggie, Tornado Dog CHARLES LEDFORD/UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS/WEATHER.COM

Still, Byler Dann set out looking for her. Maggie is 11 years old and the two have been together since she was only 4 months old. 30 hours later, Byler Dann heard barking from underneath the rubble.

He found Maggie wrapped in a piece of carpet, alive. She has since been taken to the vet.

"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."

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Maggie, Tornado Dog CHARLES LEDFORD/UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS/WEATHER.COM

Here's where the story takes another unexpected and heartwarming turn: The vet discerned that Maggie's hip was dislocated. And she received help from an unlikely source: The Internet.

Reddit picked up on the story and started a fundraising campaign, phoning in donations to the Teegarden Veterinary Clinic in Washington. They quickly raised the money necessary to cover Maggie's medical bills.

"It is going to take so much to rebuild but finding your buddy OK after you thought the worst has to just fill your heart," a commenter pointed out. "Houses and roads can be rebuilt, a life cannot."

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Maggie, Tornado Dog CHARLES LEDFORD/UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS/WEATHER.COM

If you would like to donate, you can contact the Teegarden Veterinary Clinic at 309-444-2311 or 309-467-4655. Though Maggie's costs have been covered, there are plenty of other animals in need of help. 

Additionally, via Reddit, here are other places to donate to animals affected by the hurricane:

Illinois Animal Rescue (donate here)

Peoria Humane Society (donate here)

Tazewell County Animal Protective Society Shelter (donate here)

Project Hope Humane Society (donate here)

Champaign County Humane Society (donate here)

Just Animals Shelter (donate here)

Woodford Humane Society (donate here)

Maggie, Tornado Dog Instagram

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