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A loyal dog on a lonely stretch of highway

Watch CBS News Videos Online

When Kathy Wilkes-Myers of Love Me Tender Animal Rescue found a Rottweiler on the side of a highway in Tennessee, she immediately got the feeling the dog belonged to somebody — she wasn’t as timid and untrusting as most abandoned dogs.

“I could just tell right away she was somebody’s baby. She just didn’t act like a stray dog to me,” said Wilkes-Myers, who found the dog a few months ago, emaciated and drinking from a drainage ditch along the road.

Wilkes-Myers suspected there was more to the dog’s story, and began doing some detective work.

She returned to where she found the dog, and found the first clues – broken glass and tail lights. Not far away she found a pile of personal items — a toothbrush, comb, razor, and a candle with “Michelle” written on it — that had been gathered, apparently by the dog.

“It was like she was sleeping with them – or waiting with them,” Wilkes-Myers told Steve Hartman of CBS News.

It was then she remembered driving by a bad accident on the same stretch of highway, two weeks earlier.  A car had flipped over and landed on the side of the road, crunched up so badly she was sure there were no survivors.

But it led her to wonder — might the dog have been in the car?

When the highway patrol told her the names of the victims — including a mother named Michelle, the pieces came together.

Ella apparently 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, Hartman reported.

Wilkes-Myers also found out that all five members of the family survived the crash. After two weeks believing that their dog, Ella, had died, the Kellys got the good news and were reunited with their dog.

Because of their medical expenses, the Kelly family has had to relocate to temporary housing that doesn’t allow dogs, but Wilkes-Myers has promised to keep Ella for as long as they need.


Comment from Anne’n’Spencer
Time September 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Wiping away a tear. There are still good people around. How fortunate that this good human and this good dog found each other, and that the human knew enough to understand what was happening. Both of them deserve a happy ending.

Comment from Scott
Time September 29, 2009 at 5:04 am

Amazing & wonderful!

Comment from JanineKnows
Time September 29, 2009 at 12:30 pm

What a wonderful story! A blessing for the dog, the family, and Kathy! 🙂


Comment from Jet
Time September 29, 2009 at 5:45 pm

so much for vicious Rottweillers…..
It’s not the breed folks, its the Deed!
Thank goodness Ella had someone who understood dogs, not someone who has no clue.
Save Our Dogs, Save Our Dogs like Ella!

Comment from Ella
Time September 30, 2009 at 12:45 am

Wonderful story, I have 2 Rotti’s and they are the most lovable and loyal dogs I have ever owned. As a former resisdent of Tennesse, I am proud of the compassion shown by Kathy and I hope there will be a permanent reunion for the owners. By the way my name is Ella.

Comment from Karen
Time September 30, 2009 at 7:50 pm

What a tearjerker of a story! I have a Rottie and they are the most loveable dogs. My girl got extra hugs and treats the night I saw this video!

Comment from Tracey Wilkes
Time October 2, 2009 at 10:56 am

If you want to learn more about Ella and get updates visit our website: http://www.lovemetenderanimalrescue.org
The long version of Ella and Kathy’s story will air on CBS Sunday Morning program either this Sunday or next, not sure yet. Please tune in just in case. Thank you for the words of love and support for Ella.

Comment from Veronica Perez
Time October 6, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Hmmm. Why did the family believe their dog had died? If they all survived, did they post any notices around the town/place of the crash about their missing dog, in case it was found. Not so sure that dog should be returned to the family. Whenever I find a lost animal, I take note of how much/little the owner took steps to try and find their pet. If there wasn’t an effort, the pet shouldn’t be returned to them.