From Stewie's and Strauss's family: Thanks to all of you! Without your help our family friend wouldn't be here with us today...if it hadn't happened to us I would have never believed it.

Stewie, a 4-year-old miniature schnauzer, underwent surgery at BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital today after a daring escape from his backyard following a thunderstorm almost ended in tragedy.

The big adventure started Tuesday, when the storms that blew through Kansas City toppled the basketball pole in the Carrs’ driveway, smashing the gate that kept family dogs Stewie and Strauss in the yard.

According to Mistylee Carr, Stewie’s owner, a passing motorist found the pups near I-35 and put them in his car. The motorist contacted the rescue group listed on Strauss’ tags. By then, he was already in Iowa.

Thankfully, volunteers from the rescue group – Safe Harbor Prison Dogs – arranged to pick up the dogs and return them to the family’s home in Cameron, Mo., Carr said. But it was clear that Stewie had been injured sometime during his escape, most likely during an altercation with another dog.

Carr rushed Stewie to their vet, who referred the case to BluePearl. As a 24-hour specialty and emergency hospital, BluePearl has advanced equipment and highly skilled veterinarians with the expertise necessary to treat complex injuries such as Stewie’s.

Dr. Logan Donaldson, a BluePearl clinician, said Stewie has fractured ribs and puncture wounds on his left side. Surgery will help them find and treat any internal injuries Stewie might have suffered, such as a punctured lung.

“If it all goes well, Stewie should be just fine,” Donaldson said. “He’s a lucky little dog.”

Donaldson also arranged for national pet charity Frankie’s Friends to step in and help pay for the cost of Stewie’s care, which is estimated to be about $3,000. Frankie’s Friends is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families with pets that need lifesaving care.

Carr said the news lifted a big weight off of her shoulders, especially after the stress of losing her dogs.

“It was just instantaneous relief after they told me about it,” she said. “I burst into tears.”

Carr said Stewie is the family’s little lovebug and is more mellow than his “brother” Strauss, a Cairn terrier mix. She said everyone in the family was worried sick when the dogs went missing, particularly her children, ages 4, 6 and 8.

“I’m not planning to let that dog out of my sight,” Carr said. “If he wanted a car ride, there are much easier ways to get one!”

Stewie’s situation is a good reminder to all pet owners to keep a close eye on their furry friends during thunderstorm season. Many dogs suffer from storm anxiety and may injure themselves or bolt out an open door in an attempt to escape the storm.