Heartwarming (and Heartbreaking) Stories of Tornado Victims and Their Animals

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In addition to the tragic loss of life and widespread damage to homes and businesses, the tornadoes that hit Oklahoma this week have also taken a heavy toll on the area's animals. Thousands of local residents have pets that were killed or lost, possibly forever, while livestock and even wild animals have also been affected by the storm. The Orr Family Farm, a local horse farm, took a direct hit to its stables that may have killed as many as 100 of their horses. For them, the animals are more than just companions, they're a business and a family's livelihood. A website has already been set up to help reunite lost pets with their owners.

Obviously, the deaths of dogs and cats can't compare to the human lives that were lost, but for pet owners the loss of animal companions is very real and still very painful. On the flip side, in times of trouble — when you've just lost your home and all your possessions — having a pet by your side is sometimes the only thing that can comfort you. And for animal lovers in general, it's just tough to see helpless creatures that are hurt or scared, and occasionally abandoned in the chaos that follows disaster.

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Meanwhile, few things lift people's spirits as much as seeing owners reunited with their pets. Rescuers were even heard on TV breaking out in applause after pulling a dog from damaged home on Monday.

As a reporter for the Jersusalem Post found out last fall, while doing an animal story in the midst of the Gaza war, some people find it insensitive to write about animals when humans are suffering. In the end, however, these stories aren't about the animals, but about the people who cared for them.

One moment in particular managed to perfectly capture the incredible emotions animal stories create in times like these. In this CBS News interview, a local Moore woman is sadly telling a reporter about how she's lost her dog, until halfway through the interview, a miracle happens...

If that video doesn't move you even a little bit, then you're probably not much of a human at all.

(Inset Photo 1: Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman, via Associated Press; Inset 2: Nick Oxford for The New York Times; Photo 3: REUTERS/Gene Blevins)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.