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Photo by Brittin Roberts The Volkmanns' family dog, Buddy, survived the EF4 tornado with only a scratch above his eye and his spirit unbroken.

Finding their Buddy

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People say dogs are a man's best friend. So the Volkmanns were very excited to find their Buddy.

The Tim and Sue Volkmann family returned from Bemidji to find their house in shambles and their beloved pets missing. The search began immediately.

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The Volkmanns first found their dog, Rex, in the rubble. He lived only briefly.

Tim began the search for their Labrador retriever mix. He stayed up until midnight looking for the family pet, Buddy. Tim asked some volunteers to mobilize the family's six-wheeler so his daughters could use it to search for the dog.

About 4 p.m. the next day, about a quarter mile away from the Volkmann farm, neighbor Tim Thiesen was checking Volkmanns' cattle when he came across Buddy in a pasture.

"He just laid there scared," Thiesen said.

Thiesen said he called Buddy's name a few times, and the dog wasn't moving -- which was strange for the typically friendly dog. But when Thiesen petted the scared dog, he jumped right into the six-wheeler for the ride home.

Buddy, who will turn 3 in November, spent nearly 24 hours on the Volkmanns' missing list. He's used to more creature comforts, sleeping in daughter Courtney's room when he's not too muddy. He has learned to open the front door on his own, and has a devilish habit of stealing people's hats.

Back home, Buddy is a happy hound again, having suffered only a cut above his right eye.

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