Saturday, November 27, 2010

Grieving Dog Drawn to Savior's Grave - by Alicia Gallegos

Marci Reed, Mishawaka, kisses her late son Joshua's dog, Zelda, on a visit to his grave near Bremen. Joshua, 15, was killed in a four-wheeler accident last year, and Zelda often runs to the cemetery to lie on his grave. Animal control officers return her free of charge. / Marcus Marter / Associated Press
 SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Since her best friend's death, Zelda has taken to wandering.

Neighbors spot the one-eyed, rust-colored dog roaming the farm roads near her home, heading in the direction of the cemetery.

Animal control officers say that's where the dog was found recently, roving the grounds of a brick church on Bremen Highway, yards from her owner's grave.

"She's without her boy," said mom Marci Reed. "She just sniffs all over, looking for her boy."

Zelda and her owner, Joshua Reed, 15, had been inseparable ever since Joshua rescued the dog three years earlier, when she was hit by a car.

It had been nightfall when the family drove past the dog lying in the road. Joshua "jumped out of the moving van," Marci Reed recalled. "He yelled, 'Stop! We have to get the dog!' "

The teen brought the bleeding animal into the van, wrapping the dog in his jacket.

The child stayed up all night talking to the dog, his mother remembered with tears in her eyes. "He kept saying, 'I love you. I love you. You'll be all right. I'll take care of you.' "

Zelda lost an eye in the accident, and her tail was broken in several places, but the dog flourished at the Reed home.

Zelda followed Joshua everywhere, waiting for him every day when he got off the school bus.

Zelda and Joshua would roll around in the grass outside the family's Mishawaka farm. They would race down the gravel drive, with the boy on his bike and Zelda sprinting beside him.

So Zelda, along with the rest of the Reed family, entered a world of emptiness last year when, one day, Joshua didn't come home.

When Joshua asked his parents for a four-wheeler, they first said no. But he promised to earn half the money for the vehicle himself, said his dad, and worked extra-hard on the farm to make the wish a reality.

The Penn High School freshman loved his new ATV, riding it with a group of four-wheeling friends in the summer of 2009.

The Reeds will never know why Joshua didn't stop and look when he approached the intersection of Pierce Road and Ind. 331 on the evening of Sept. 3. It might have been because the road had previously been closed and only recently opened for traffic.

State Police said the pickup truck driver reported that he didn't see the boy on the ATV until it was too late.

Joshua was thrown 120 feet, his dad said, and died instantly.

Joshua, the middle of five brothers ranging in age from 11 to 31, is remembered most by friends and family as a great friend and lover of all animals, especially ones like Zelda who needed extra care.

For days after the funeral, Zelda wandered up and down the farm, searching high and low for her boy.

Zelda had never run away before the accident, but now, the Reeds say, the dog takes to the road any chance she gets.

She was taken to the cemetery only once by the family. Marci Reed brought Zelda to St. John's Cemetery on Bremen Highway after the first time she ran away.

Since visiting the graveyard that first time, the dog has been caught twice more near the cemetery route.

"They always say that animals have that extra sense," said Jordan McGuire, with the Humane Society of St. Joseph County. "It's obvious (the dog) is grieving."

"We're going to get a fence," Reed said. "I can't let something happen to her."

I couldn't help but tear up as I read this story.  So tragic, so beautiful.

1 comment:

  1. I just read this amazing story about Zelda and her owner Joshua. I work for a Spirit Medium named Maureen Hancock and must tell you I hear thousands of heart wrenching stories about families, Moms and Dads losing kids, parents, etc.. I must say this brought me to tears. I have heard of animals coming through in readings. I had never thought so much about what happens when a poor animal looses their best friend? This is a story that I will remember forever. I actually sent this to Maureen Hancock who will soon have her own TV show. Would love if this family could contact her somehow to be read.
    I am so happy I came across this and took the time to read. Kelly Scriven/Mgr. of Maureen Hancock


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