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One Year After The Tornado, Celebrating Joplin's Animal Heroes (VIDEOS)

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On May 22, 2011, one of the worst tornadoes in US history hit Joplin, Mo., killing 161 people and destroying nearly a third of the city.

It was a devastating time. Yet, amidst the grief and widespread destruction, the city of Joplin has shown a resilience and hope that has been astounding.

On the first anniversary of the tornado, the city will come together in a "walk of unity" as they remember the steadfast togetherness that has kept them strong and the heroes that helped saved lives.

But Joplin's heroes come in many sizes: male and female, young and old, on two legs and on four.

Here, we celebrate the animal heroes of the Joplin tornado -- pets who have worked tirelessly to save survivors or to retrieve victims, as well as animals who've bravely endured the challenges of the disaster, offering hope to a city in recovery.

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Filed by Dominique Mosbergen