Dec. 15, 2011 -- A family in Yelm, Wash., got an early Christmas present this year when their dog, Scamp, survived a night alone under a wheelbarrow in frigid temperatures after getting hit by a car.
Paul and Reta McKinlay brought the 8-month-old yorkie shih tzu mix home this summer because their grandchildren "had just been hounding us for a dog," said Reta McKinlay.
Six-year-old twins Kaiden and Chevelle, who live with their grandparents, were thrilled.
"They have cats, but they really have wanted a dog," Reta McKinlay said.
So when the dog got run over by a car on Dec. 3, the children were distraught over the loss of their family's newest addition -- but fortunately for Scamp, it wasn't nearly as dire as it seemed.
Paul McKinlay, 61, was speaking with his oldest son in the front yard when Scamp slipped underneath the fence bordering their home and ran into the street, a dark, winding road.
"All he heard was a yelp and a thud and then a lady pulled over and my husband went running out there and found the dog," said Reta McKinlay. "The poor lady [the driver] was crying."
To the McKinlays, it appeared as though their dog had died.
"We checked to see if we felt any breathing out of his nose, and we couldn't feel any heart beat," she said. "In the meantime we were trying not to alarm the kids. They knew something was up but they weren't sure what."
Her husband wrapped the dog in a blanket and put him underneath a wheelbarrow so no animals could get to him.
Then, they told the twins.
"[Paul] was going to bury him the next morning so we went into the house and just told the kids the dog had gotten hit by a car and that he had gone to heaven like in that movie, 'All Dogs Go to Heaven.' My grandson was crying. He asked if [Scamp] evaporated like in the movie and I said, 'Yes, that's what happened.'"
The children's great-grandparents had passed away recently as well as one of their uncles, so she told them, "He's off with my mom, dad and brother in heaven and they're taking care of him."
But when Paul McKinlay went outside the following morning to bury Scamp, he lifted up the wheelbarrow and found the dog sitting up.
He and his wife rushed Scamp to an emergency veterinary clinic where they discovered the dog had bruises, a bad concussion, broken teeth and a possible hairline fracture in his jaw.
They didn't tell the kids, for fear the dog wouldn't survive.
Eventually, they transferred Scamp to another clinic where he healed for a few days.
When it seemed as though Scamp was going to make it, the twins, who were staying at the aunt's home in the meantime, found out the dog had survived.
"We put the phone by [Scamp's ] ear and they told him how much they loved him and did smooches on the phone and little dog barks and [Scamp's] ears perked up," Reta McKinlay said.
Three thousand dollars in vet bills later, Scamp came home Wednesday, Dec. 7.
"My husband has just been emotionally distraught that he left [Scamp] out in the cold, although all the vets say that's what saved him. It stopped his brain from swelling and that's ultimately why he lived," she said. "They said that being under the wheelbarrow was just perfect, it couldn't have been any better."
For the McKinlays, it was a Christmas miracle.
"Sometimes God's just not ready to take something away," she said.