As the Friday night news was warning of an EF2 tornado, Bruce and Ona Dunlap’s cable suddenly went out.
Bruce opened the door of their Logan County, Arkansas, home to see what was happening. “When he stepped outside he told Ona, ‘It’s awful quiet outside and there’s no wind — there’s nothing out here,’” Julie Moore, a good friend of the couple’s, told The Dodo. “She said, ‘Oh yes there is. Get to the storm shelter now.’”
Little did they know that minutes later, the house would be gone.
The couple quickly got to work. Ona rushed to their housemate’s room to help the handicapped man into the storm shelter. Meanwhile, Bruce searched for the couple’s four cats and two dogs.
One cat, Ladybug, was missing and their dog Dasha refused to go outside. Bruce was forced to leave without them.
“Dasha could sense that something was wrong and she went to the kitchen and lay down,” Moore said. “Bruce didn’t know what to do … by the time he got to the storm shelter he could barely get the door to shut.”
The tornado touched down, tearing the roof off the Dunlaps’ house and scattering debris and belongings everywhere. When they finally emerged from the shelter, it was so dark, they couldn’t even tell what part of the house was still standing.
The next day, the Dunlaps and a few friends were surveying the damage when a fluffy face emerged from the wreckage. “Dasha came running out like, ‘Why did y’all wait so long?’” Moore said. “Ona just grabbed her fur and grabbed her face and started talking to her, saying, ‘I’m sorry. We’re here.’”
Moore slipped her phone out of her pocket and snapped a few pictures of the touching reunion. “[Ona] talks to her like a person and Dasha actually responded like a person — they kissed each other,” Moore said.
Ona and Bruce were so grateful for Dasha’s safe return, but they were still missing one member of their family — their cat Ladybug.
Then, a miracle happened: The cat found her way back to her mom. “She was wet, she was cold and shaking,” Moore said. “Ona just grabbed her up and started pulling the sheetrock out of her fur, and just squeezed her and hugged her.”
“One thing Bruce said when they found both of them and she was hugging them,” Moore added, “he said, ‘There’s your kids.’”
The Dunlaps have a long way to go before their family will be settled again, but they are so grateful that they all made it through the night. Luckily, they have the support of their community, which is coming together to help the Dunlaps in any way possible.
The tornado took so much, but they have each other and that’s what’s important.