TUSTIN (CBSLA) — A man and his dog were forced to survive and recover without each other after a crash in the Arizona desert separated them for two weeks.
Michael Crocker and his beloved puppy Bella have been reunited after a serious crash that mangled his hand and got her stuck in the desert without food or water.
“We got to Flagstaff and that’s when I fell asleep and veered off the side of the road,” Crocker said, recalling the crash. “Went into a ditch, hit a sign and rolled back up on to the road.”
After the crash, doctors had to amputate his shattered thumb and harvest tissue from his leg for a skin graft. But his mother was more concerned with his emotional recovery.
“How was he gonna face this new reality?” Gina Puccio said. Because, at the time, Bella was still missing – she was believed to have been either ejected during the crash, or ran away from the wreckage.
Her family did not give up hope, though. They searched for her for days, then enlisted the help of rescue groups.
On the 13th day, she was found – her leash had become stuck in branches. When Bella was found, she had been without food or water for nearly two weeks.
“She — she’s a survivor,” Crocker said, with a laugh.
Crocker says that Bella’s leash becoming stuck was both a blessing and a curse – she couldn’t go find food, but she also couldn’t get hit by a car. It also kept her in place long enough to be found by a local rescue group.
Bella did suffer an infection, and needed a blood transfusion along with plenty of food and water after being found. Being reunited with Michael appears to have put her on a permanent road to recovery.