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Rottie Waits for Family at Crash Site
A horrific car accident leads to a tearful reunion.
Ella reunited with her family.

On July 1 in Tennessee, the Kelley family lost control of their car and slammed into a mountain. An ambulance took Joe and Michelle Kelley and their three children to a nearby hospital as their Rottweiler, Ella, watched. Scared and alone, she ran into the woods.

Thirteen days later, animal rescuer Kathy Wilkes-Myers drove past the crash scene and saw a skinny, tick-infested Rottie drinking from a puddle on the side of the road. Ella had patiently waited where she had last seen her family. Wilkes-Myers was astonished to discover little piles of personal items--such as toothbrushes and a comb--that Ella had collected. Within one such pile, she discovered a notepad from an insurance agent, giving her the clue--and contact information--she needed to find Ella’s family.

You can see the tearful reunion here. My favorite part is when Ella is excitedly whining and licking Joe Kelley and their young baby on his lap.

In a previous blog post, I discussed the importance of keeping your dog secured in a crate or harness while driving. Another way to ensure your dog’s safety is to create three information cards. One should be posted on the crate, the second in your glove compartment and the third carried in your wallet or purse.

On the card, include a photo of your dog and contact information for you, your vet, and family or friends who would be willing to take your dog or help find him if he is loose. Otherwise, the authorities will call animal control to take your dog to the shelter. If you’ve been seriously injured, you will want someone notified who can claim your dog. Or, if they can’t capture or find him, someone who will be willing to search for him.


Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.

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Submitted by val | July 30 2009 |

now im weeping at work. DOGS ROCK!

Submitted by d richardson | July 30 2009 |

What a sweet and good dog and bravo to her rescuer for not just driving on by and ignoring the "stray dog"

Submitted by Janet A Peterson | July 31 2009 |

When you adopt a pet, you can come to realize that an animal can change your perspective on life’s priorities. Ella showed strength, resilience, love, devotion, and spirit by waiting for her family. I am very fortunate because I adopted a dog from NSAL. No matter the situation, Horus loves me, my husband, our daughter, the same ... every day ... regardless. They are so full of faith, love and trust. I am happy and lucky to have Horus in my life just as Ella’s guardians were fortunate and overcome to have her back in their lives.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 3 2009 |

Amazing dog. Why did the family not go back though?

The best place for a dog when it's on a car ride is in a crate. My friends rolled the car and the doberman was in a crate, safe.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 5 2009 |

I agree. I'm very glad the dog found its way back home, but why was someone not looking for it? If this had been one of my dogs, I (or a friend) would be out looking for them every day.

Submitted by Drake | August 18 2009 |

Nice story and so glad the family and dog is safe, but why didn't someone, a family member or friend go looking for the dog where the accident took place? Then the dog wouldn't had to live thru that nightmare.

Submitted by Anonymous | September 29 2009 |

Great story but I to wonder why the family didn't even attempt to find thier dog, I know if it was mine I would be going out of my mind till I found her. Hopefully the devotion is not just one sided. Great job to Kathy I also understand the family moved to an apartment that doesn't allow dogs and Kathy is once again coming to thier rescue by keeping the dog for them. Sounds like Kathy is right up there with Ella!!!

Submitted by M | September 30 2009 |

Dogs are the best!

Submitted by Lyn | October 2 2009 |

according to another article i read the family had since moved to a place where they couldn't have pets because of all the medical expenses they incurred in the accident and they had assumed their dog was killed in the accident....so the dog is living with at the rescuer from Love Me Tender pet rescue, supposedly until the people can get her back. what a sweet dog i know the family went threw alot but....

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