NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 28, 2009
Lost Dog Gathers Clues to Find its
A Hopelessly Lost Rottweiler and the Dedicated Animal Rescue
Worker who Found her Family
By Steve Hartman
(CBS) Over the last 20 years,
the Love Me Tender animal rescue in central Tennessee has rounded up
more than 1,000 abandoned dogs. And although most are timid and untrusting,
CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman reports, one Rottweiler named Ella was
"I could just tell right away she was somebody's
baby. She just didn't act like a stray dog to me," said Kathy Wilkes-Myers,
who found the dog a few months ago.
Ella was emaciated and drinking
from a drainage ditch along an empty stretch of highway. Kathy says it's
typical for people to dump unwanted pets in the middle of nowhere - but
again, the dog's demeanor convinced her there was more to the story. So she
did some detective work, and what she found is a heart-wrenching tale of
"She was hoping her family could come back. But
they couldn't. They couldn't come back. It just breaks your heart," said
Kathy found the first clues to this mystery - broken glass
and tail lights - right near where she found the dog.
And just down from there, she found a second set of even more intriguing
clues: personal items gathered up. By the dog, she assumed.
like she was sleeping with them - or waiting with them," Kathy said.
She took a picture with her cell phone and then gathered the items. They
were mostly random, personal things - toothbrush, comb, razor, a candle that
said Michelle, but nothing that would explain anything - although now, she
did have a hunch.
Kathy remembered two weeks earlier she'd driven by
an accident on the same stretch of highway. She remembered because it was
such a horrible crash. A single car had flipped over and landed on the side
of the road, at just about the same spot where she found the dog.
Based on what she saw that day, Kathy figured there was no way a person
could have survived, but what about a dog? So she called the highway patrol.
"She gave me the mom's name and the dad's name and the mom's name
was Michelle. And I thought, 'Oh my God, this is their dog," she said.
Thrown from the car, rescue crews never saw the dog. She spent 13 days
scavenging for food along the highway - and 13 nights bedding down with
whatever she could find that smelled like her lost family.
the last spot she saw her family and she was going to stay there," Kathy
Kathy figured it all out. But fortunately, she got one thing
very wrong. Someone did survive the crash. In face, all five family members
"I'm lucky to be sitting here with my family," said Joe
Kelly, the family's father.
After two weeks believing that their
dog, Ella, had died, the family of Joe and Michelle Kelly got the most
wonderful, slobbery surprise of their lives.
For the first time
since the accident, the Kelly's had a good reason to cry -all thanks to a
dog who refused to forget her family - and the stranger who refused to take
lost for answer.
Unfortunately, it was a bittersweet reunion because
of the accident and the medical expenses, the Kelly family has had to
temporarily relocate to a place that doesn't allow dogs.
news is, Kathy has promised to hold onto Ella for as long as the Kelleys
need to get back on their feet.