(Photo: CBS News video)
"Thank you, God," Barbara Garcia whispered repeatedly as she tried lifting the bits of wreckage covering her precious pet and companion who she thought had been lost after a powerful tornado ripped through parts of Oklahoma Monday, killing at least 24 people.
"Well I thought God just answered one prayer to let me be okay. He answered both of them, because this was my second prayer," Garcia told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner as she coddled her "poor little" schnauzer, who appeared to be uninjured.
Werner had been interviewing Garcia in front of the flattened wreckage of what, until yesterday, had been her home. The elderly woman, a little dusty with scratches and blood visible on her arms, appeared rather stoic as she shared how she and the dog had taken refuge in the bathroom to ride out the powerful storm. It wasn't until near the end of the on-camera interview when an apparent member of the news staff spotted the mini schnauzer that Garcia's matter-of-fact expression melted and the woman seemed on the verge of tears.
The surprising video has stirred the hearts of many viewers.
"Not much brings me to tears. Kindly old people and dogs have done it to me this time. That woman had lost everything, cheated death, and was still as composed as she was. On any other day I might not give her a second look. And yet look how much dignity she's able to show," wrote on viewer on social site Reddit.
"With as loud as they are, they are the most loyal of companions. My mini (schnauzer) laid next to me for almost 3 days straight while I was really sick making sure I was okay. As a dog lover for my entire life, it is amazing to see this but to also know that her life will be changed by having that dog," wrote another viewer who identified as a mini schnauzer owner, and later added: "All terriers are loyal companions."
Watch the heartwarming video below of Barbara Garcia finding her pet dog amid the rubble:
The National Weather service has reported that at least two dozen tornadoes were spotted in several states Monday, with the one that ravaged the suburbs and leveled schools in Moore, Okla., causing the most destruction and loss of life. Several children were reportedly among the estimated two dozen people killed.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who has declared a state of emergency in several counties, has said that prayer can play a hand in her state's recovery.
"Oklahoma people are very strong, and they will make it through this, but we're going to need a lot of prayer and a lot of support to get back on our feet," Gov. Fallin told Politico.
President Barack Obama has also declared Oklahoma a major disaster area and promised to supplement state resources with federal aid.