|Beatrice Gamez is reunited with her dog, Piolin, whom she feared had died in the tornado. Photo by Ezra Millstein/Habitat for Humanity
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by Bill Sanders
(May 20, 2013) -- When Beatrice and Lucio Gamez pulled up to their home in the Rancho Brazos neighborhood in Granbury three days after a devastating tornado, Lucio jumped out of the car to immediately begin assessing the damage.
Beatrice sat in the car and stared, tears welling up in her eyes.
“It’s worse than I’d feared,” she said. “People keep telling us God has something better for us. I hope so.”
With that glimmer of hope, Beatrice stepped out of her car to join her husband.
Before she could take two steps, her hope got a giant boost in the form of a four-pound chihuahua named Piolin.
“Oh my goodness, look, it’s Piolin,” Beatrice said, this time through tears of joy. “Aw, are you OK? I thought you didn’t make it.”
Lucio said his wife needed that moment. And so did he. Beatrice said Piolin is like a child to her.
“The animals are my family,” he said. “Our parakeet is safe in the motel, but we couldn’t find Piolin. We needed some good news today.”
The Gamez home was knee-deep in clothes, pieces of furniture and glass. It looked, and smelled, like a condemned house that no one had lived in for years.
The couple stayed just a few minutes, long enough to gather a few items from their destroyed cars and some photos from the house.
Before leaving, Lucio and some of his relatives hoisted Mexican and American flags back into a place of prominence overlooking the Gamez property.
This place has been home to the Gamez family for 13 years. And it will be again someday.
“I keep telling myself that,” Beatrice said. “I hope it's true.”