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MUST SEE: Family pulls dog from rubble in Washington landslide

Posted at 6:55 PM, Mar 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-25 18:55:10-04

DARRINGTON, Wash. (WTVR) -– As the search for survivors in the deadly Washington mudslide entered day four, one family who lost virtually everything regained something priceless.

"We had one thing we could celebrate after a day of just horror," one family member said. 

The Kuntz family came home to find their muddy mangled house 150 feet from its base Saturday. They just missed the deadly slide to attend their son's ball game, leaving their dog and cat inside.

"I'm just still in shock that we could have been gone," said Quinton Kuntz.

Their aunt Linda McPherson who lived next door on the family's farm didn't survive.

"We have lost our great, great sister. But we are a strong family and we're going to get through this," said Irene Kuntz.

Linda's husband, Gary McPherson, was sitting in his recliner when the house crashed in. The 70-year-old grabbed wood from his chair to clear enough room to breathe.

The family took comfort in the fact that neighbors consoled his wife I during her final moments.

But amid the loss, came something unexpected when they returned to the wreckage. Grieving family members had given up hope of finding Buddy, their Chocolate Lab.

"We were looking through all the rubble and heard the dog whining," Quinton said.

The dog was covered in dirt and had a few gashes, but was alive.

"I just broke down crying really happy that my dog was alright. I'm just shocked how well he did against my whole house falling on him," Quinton said.

Buddy was still tired Monday, but is giving the family that's lost so much a reason to smile.

After finding Buddy and losing their cat, the family is now helping rescue other animal affected by the slide. In fact, they were able to locate their Aunt Linda's dog.