Ella, a Rottweiler, was found emaciated and drinking from a drainage ditch in a grassy patch along side an interstate in the central part Tennessee.
Rescued by Kathy Wilkes-Myers with Love Me Tender animal rescue, Ella became one of more than 1,000 abandoned dogs Love Me Tender has rescued over the last 20 years.
Something about Ella was different from the rest of the "abandoned" dogs she has rescued over the years though. She told CBS corespondent Steve Hartman "I could just tell right away she was somebody's baby. She just didn't act like a stray dog to me."
Kathy decided to do some detective work and try and piece together what had happened to Ella. She went back to the spot where Ella was found and located broken glass and tail lights. Kathy remembered passing by an accident scene in the same location around the time she found Ella. Kathy recalls that it was a "horrible crash" and believed no one could have survived the single car crash which left the car sitting on it's roof.
Kathy continued her search of the area and located personal items gathered into a pile. The items included a candle with the name Michelle on it, a comb and toothbrush. Kathy believed Ella had gathered the items together and was staying with them, waiting for her owners to return. The vigil lasted 13 days before Ella was rescued by Kathy.
Kathy called the Tennessee Highway Patrol and asked about the crash. It was then that she was told that the mom's name was Michelle. Kathy remembers thinking "Oh my God, this is their dog." She did indeed have the family's dog, but thankfully the family had not been killed in the crash.
After two weeks of believing Ella had died in the crash, Joe and Michelle Kelly were reunited with Ella. Kathy told the family how she found Ella and how Ella had kept vigil for the family, saying: "That's the last spot she saw her family and she was going to stay there."
After being covered with loving, sloppy kisses from Ella, Joe told CBC "I'm lucky to be sitting here with my family."