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.

Comments (19)
  1. Doug Wiser says:

    Flagstaff isn’t desert.

    1. Anita Dean Skinner says:

      You beat me to it! Some people (including this reporter, obviously think our entire state of AZ is desert! Still I’m so glad the puppy survived two weeks in the high country of Flagstaff without food or water. Wonder if it rained during that time?

  2. Dee Zoellick says:

    A person can’t live for close to two weeks without water. How can a puppy?

    1. Denise Pharmer says:


  3. A human can last 3 days without a drop of water. Good to know ! Healthy dogs and cats can last “three, four, five days without eating, many even longer than that. Food is not the main issue, but water is. If your dog is not eating or drinking water, it can be a big problem. Without water, dogs can live 4-5 days, and without food – a maximum of two weeks.May 16, 2018

  4. Mark Chavez says:

    Flagstaff isn’t the desert. It’s a mountain community and this time of year, temps are mild and there is water to be found.

  5. Jim Dea says:

    How does a dog live for 2 weeks without water? That is the big question being asked here regarding this story.

  6. John Oakman says:


  7. Barbara Reitz says:

    Glad the pup survived.

  8. Maureen Callahan says:

    At first it looked like she was rescued by Elizabeth Warren! LOL. That woman could be her body double.
    All the best. So glad things turned out OK.

Leave a Reply