It's a bright spot everyone looks for during such a dark time: Amidst the rubble of homes and towns, pets emerge unharmed, ready to be reunited with their tearful and grateful owners.
Such is the case when, in the middle of an interview in a CBS affiliate, Moore, Oklahoma, resident Barbara Garcia got the surprise of her life. As she was lamenting the supposed loss of her dog, a member of the CBS crew spotted the sweet pup just a few feet away from where Barbara was standing. With a little help, the dog was freed and seemed relatively unharmed, and one of the sweetest stories of this heartbreaking event was born.
But there are many more stories like this waiting to happen. As people try to get on their feet, and as the search for human survivors still continues, many pets remain unaccounted for. Luckily, a group of dedicated rescuers are trying to reunite them with their owners.
Emily Garman, the co-owner of Oklahoma Medical Group and a board member of the Bella Foundation, an animal non-profit, has started a website as a sort of "lost and found" for Oklahoma residents and their pets. OKCLostPets.com is already filled with pleas from people looking for their pets, and more hopeful posts that feature that all-important word: FOUND.
In addition to reuniting pets and owners, the website is also serving as a foster board in the event the animals can't be claimed immediately.
Members of the Bella Foundation have been on the ground in Moore, trying to find animals and relocate them to a safe place.
The Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest veterinary practice in the world, is also offering free physical examinations for pets affected by the Oklahoma tornadoes. The offer is good at over 14 hospitals in the Oklahoma region through June 4th. Visit Banfield's website to find a local hospital, and learn more about their efforts on their Facebook page.
One picture of a small black puppy has been circulating recently, and The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office recently posted this update:
STORY BEHIND DOG PICTURE:The dog was guarding it's deceased owner.Taken to shelter; deputy plans on adopting. twitter.com/OkCountySherif…
— Oklahoma Co. Sheriff (@OkCountySheriff) May 21, 2013
A few Facebook pages have cropped up, trying to take stock of lost and found pets. The OK Tornado Doc and Picture Recovery page, which is helping return possessions to people whose homes have been destroyed, has a special section just for pets. The Pet Owners Resource Center is also compiling a list of animals, as well as Web and social media resources for pet owners.
If you or someone you know is looking for a pet, please pass along this list of resources:
Locations with missing pets:
OKC Animal Resource Center
7941 S I-35 Service Rd
Oklahoma City, OK 73149
Cleveland County Fairgrounds
615 E. Robinson St
Norman, OK 73071