North GA dog survives crash, makes 600 mile journey home - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

North GA dog survives crash, makes 600 mile journey home

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CHATSWORTH, GA (WRCB) - A devastating crash claimed the life of a North Georgia truck driver hundreds of miles from home in Pennsylvania, but somehow his best friend and co-pilot, a pit bull named Bella, survived the crash. Thursday the dog made the long journey back to Chatsworth to comfort her mourning family.

Truck driver Richard Sullivan spent most days on the road, but he wasn't alone. For the last two years his right-hand-gal, Bella was always by his side.

Emergency responders in Pennsylvania were amazed the dog survived being thrown from the multi-truck crash that claimed Richard's life.

They teamed up with animal rescue groups and drove all night to reunite Bella and her family.

"Summers in the truck, winters in the truck, every day at the house together side by side. There was no separating them," Christopher Sullivan said.

Even though his dad is gone, Christopher Sullivan says at least a piece of him is back.

"She's the sweetest dog I've ever known," Christopher said.

Bella is now in his arms after surviving a tragic crash and making a more than 600 mile journey home.

"Whatever ordeal she's been through since August 3rd has just completely gone to the way side. She's home," Animal Aid USA's Karen Talbot said.

She's burned, broken, and missing a leg, but her tail is wagging and that helps her family heal.

"Knowing she was with dad and she's here now, and he's not," Christopher said.
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania EMT's came along for the emotional reunion. They found the injured Bella under a truck at the crash scene.

"We didn't realize until we got the fire knocked out in the trucks that were on fire at the scene," EMT Dan Shaffer said.

The community there rallied around Bella and not only arranged her homecoming, but paid also off her vet bill and sent donations to the Sullivan family for her continued care.

"This type of tragic event brings out the best in humanity and it's absolutely restored my faith in humanity," Talbot said.

Even strangers throughout Murray County showed up to welcome the Sullivan's missing family member home.

"I had to come just to see Bella," Eton resident Wanda Craig said.

"They've helped more than I knew anybody could help," Christopher said.

Within hours of the crash, the Sullivans started calling every Pennsylvania area animal hospital they could find online in search of Bella, not knowing if this moment would ever come.

"We were just so thankful to find her. At one point we were beginning to wonder if we ever were," Richard's daughter-in-law Desiree Sullivan said.

"He would be very proud of his Bella and his family," Christopher said.

The animal rescuers said it was clear Bella knew she was almost home when they stopped at a nearby rest area and Bella jumped up in excitement and recognition.

She'll live now with Richard's son and daughter-in-law in Chatsworth.

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