JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The tornado that ripped through the Pine Belt on December 23, 2014, took five lives and left many homeless, including several pets.
One group of animals also lost their owners in that storm.
Twister, a pit bull mix and Rose, a German Shepherd, named by their rescuers at Southern Cross Animal Rescue, were found amid debris of their destroyed home in Jones County.
"We immediately dispatched out to the scene," SCAR's Heather Williams said of the night Mississippi Emergency Management Agency contacted the rescue about the animals.
Williams said they found one dog the night of the tornado, but they could not find any others due to the rain, destruction and lack of light. They went back the next day and found one dog that died during the storm, but they knew there was one more to find.
"Neighbors had been telling us they thought there was one more dog, so members of SCAR went Christmas Day after meals with their families to keep looking, and sure enough, they were able to find Twister," she said.
Williams said Twister was lying on top of his deceased owners, and emergency officials had to shoo him away in order to get to the bodies. From what Williams assessed, Twister was kept on a chain further away from the house in an isolated situation. While she did not believe he was malnourished, she said he nor the other two dogs were brought inside before the storm.
"The one that passed away was chained to the porch, and the house was picked up and thrown, so he had no chance of surviving," Williams explained.
Twister and Rose were both brought into SCAR and stayed for several months without finding the right match for an adoption.
"The chaos of the shelter, you look in his eyes, and you saw crazy," SCAR's Kristine Wood described of Twister's altered personality in the kennel. "He was almost literally in vibration mode. He was shaking he was so stressed out in here."
Wood said that's not how she knew him, and when Twister was taken to an adoption event outside the shelter, she knew he was not meant to stay at the rescue.
"The longer he was here, the more stressed out he got," she explained. "He kept losing weight... we couldn't figure out why he was staying so sickly, and we finally decided the day that we took him out of the shelter and saw the difference we saw in his personality that it was just the chaos and the stimulation of the shelter that was making him so stressed out."
Rose was adopted after being in foster for a while, and Twister had one family interested in him, but they were located nearly six hours away in Georgia.
Wood said SCAR does not often process adoptions that far away, due to home checks, travel and other circumstances, but she said, "When it's just right, it's just right."
The Georgia family stayed in contact with SCAR for several weeks, after the rescue had "Twister Week" to promote him for an adoption. The time was finally right this week for Twister to travel to his new Georgia home.
"All the barking and craziness that we saw from him here was just immediately gone," Wood said of Twister's arrival at his new home. "His mom cried, and he toted his ball all over the place. She bought him a bed and couldn't get the tag off of it fast enough, and he had already claimed it as his!"
Wood and Williams watched Twister through arguably one of the toughest times of his life, and traveled 12 hours this week, to see one of the happiest.
"That's why we do what we do," Wood said. "We don't just give our babies away. We adopt their families as ours."
To learn more about the rescue, visit the Southern Cross Animal Rescue page on Facebook.