A Manatee County woman lost her husband, but thanks to the help of her community, her husband’s dog found her way home.
Dan Hart was driving home to Palmetto from Texas when he suffered a medical emergency, was forced to pull over, and died on the side of the road. His golden retriever, Sandy, was in the truck with him, according to WFLA News Channel 8.
Sandy spent eight days in the truck, which had a food and water supply for her inside, with her owner, faithfully staying by his side even after he passed, WFLA reported.
It was a tow truck driver who noticed the vehicle, and that there was a man inside, and called for help, according to WLOX, a Biloxi, Mississippi, television news station.
The Harrison County Coroner told WLOX Hart died of natural causes along Interstate 10 in Harrison County.
Sandy, 10, ended up at the South Mississippi Humane Society on Monday, where director of shelter operations Dawn Boob said they cared for her for a couple of days. During that time, Sandy patiently sat at Boob’s feet and greeted people as they came into the office.
“She was a sweet dog,” Boob recalled. “Really just an absolutely beautiful soul, considering the circumstances. … We were fortunate to be part of her journey.”
Michelle Londke found Sandy’s picture on Facebook. Not long after, Boob had a message on her phone that Londke and Sherryl Jenkinson were coming to pick up the dog. She said they were there by Wednesday.
Jenkinson, of Sarasota, said she has been rescuing dogs for years, so there was hardly a second thought about driving for hours to reunite Sandy with her family in Palmetto.
Londke, Jenkinson said, was a friend of Hart’s family, and volunteered to go on the trip.
Sandy was visibly nervous and uncomfortable most of the trip, Jenkinson said. When they finally arrived at Sandy’s home, her owner started calling for her the second the car door opened.
“She became a totally different dog. I just burst into tears,” Jenkinson said. “She knew she was home.”
It was an action Dan’s widow, Carolyn, told WFLA she was grateful for.
“They are angels,” Carolyn told WFLA, tearing up. “I can’t thank them enough. I don’t know how I could ever repay everybody’s kindness.”