The central Tennessee animal rescue organization Love Me Tender has been caring for lost and abandoned dogs for more than 20 years. In that time, more than a thousand dogs have passed through its doors and the loving arms of its volunteers. But one dog that came to Love Me Tender brought a mystery along with it.
It's not uncommon for Love Me Tender to take in stray and abandoned dogs. Usually, the dogs act hurt and confused and it takes a caretakers a while to get the dogs to relax. When Kathy Wilkes-Myers found Ella, a friendly Rottweiler, she immediately knew something was different. Ella was friendly and excited to see people, running up to Wilkes-Myers on first meeting.
"I could just tell right away she was somebody's baby. She just didn't act like a stray dog to me," Wilkes-Myers told CBS News about finding Ella. Usually a dog that's been abandoned is wary of other people, but despite spending days on the side of a highway drinking from a drainage ditch, Ella was still sweet. It didn't make sense to Wilkes-Myers, so she started to investigate.
Wilkes-Myers scoured the area where she found the dog, and found two intriguing clues, reports So Share This. The first was broken glass and tail lights, which are common on a highway. The second was a pile of personal items that had been gathered up, Wilkes-Myers assumed, by Ella. The pile included a toothbrush, a comb and a candle that had the name "Michelle" on it.
"It was like she was sleeping with them -- or waiting with them," Wilkes-Myers said. "She was hoping her family could come back. But they couldn't. They couldn't come back. It just breaks your heart."
The two sets of clues told Wilkes-Myers exactly what happened, and she remembered that two weeks before finding Ella there was a terrible crash on the same part of the highway. It was a single car that had flipped -- right where Wilkes-Myers found Ella. From what Wilkes-Myers saw of the crash, she knew there was no way the people could have survived.
But what about a dog? She called highway patrol and they described an crash that took place there, with a woman named Michelle Kelly. But rescue crews never found Ella. Which meant for the past two weeks Ella had been sleeping with whatever she could find that smelled like her lost family.
Wilkes-Myers thought it was all over with that. It was a terrible tragedy and Ella would need a new home. Except for one detail: It turned out Michelle -- and all five family members who had been in the car -- had survived. So after two weeks on the side of the road, Ella was reunited with her family.
The heartwarming reunion brought tears to everyone's eyes, and in a rare stroke of fortune, Love Me Tender was able to reunite a dog with its family instead of placing it with a new one.
Sources: CBS News, So Share This / Photo credit: Dr. Manfred Herrmann Allgemeiner Deutscher Rottweiler-Klub/Wikimedia Commons