The Johnson family is finally reunited with their heroic dog nearly two months since she went missing after a tornado destroyed their Tennessee home in early March.
News Channel 5 Nashville reported that Bella, the family’s 6-year-old miniature Australian Shepard, was missing for 54 days before she was found last week.
According to Eric and Faith Johnson, Bella saved the family’s life by alerting them to the tornado just before it tore across their property completely destroying their home.
Eric Johnson was asleep on March 3 when Bella woke him up. Johnson said the dog was behaving extremely erratically, and he sensed “something just didn’t feel right.”
He turned on the television and learned a tornado was about to hit Cookeville where they live. Just 45 minutes later Johnson stowed his wife and their children in a bathtub.
Johnson was injured when the tornado hit and he was thrown off the bathtub where he tried to shield his family. His wife, Faith Johnson, suffered two broken ribs from holding her children so tightly during the storm.
Since the devastating tornado, Bella was seen around the neighborhood, but neighbors report the dog was too scared to return home.
“Bella was hiding under our bed when the tornado hit our house,” Johnson told CNN. “She was thrown into our yard and survived and was missing after that. It was hard for us knowing she had survived but we couldn’t find her. She was the piece of our family that was missing.”
Eric Johnson returned to the destruction of their former neighborhood several times to leave pieces of clothing to remind the dog of his family’s scent.
“To say that I wasn’t starting to lose hope in ever finding her again would be a lie,” he said on Facebook. “Me and my wife would pray daily that God was keeping her safe out there until he brought her home to us.”
A few days before Bella was located, Sarah Romeyn, a friend of the Johnsons who tracks missing animals after storms called to tell them she had information about the dog’s whereabouts. Romeyn used cameras mounted between two buildings in an area where Bella had been sighted to capture the dog when she came for the food left out for her.
Once Bella’s location was confirmed, Johnson went to get their beloved dog. She was taken for a check-up and grooming before returning to the family’s new home.
Thrilled beyond words that Bella is reunited with her family. ❤Posted by Cumberland Pet Essentials on Sunday, April 26, 2020
Johnson expressed gratitude and joy for the return of his dog on Facebook.
“This would never have been possible without the help of so many people especially Sarah Lang Romeyn without you this would have never been possible, you’re an amazing person,” Johnson wrote. “Thank you so much for never losing hope on our dog Bella”
So something amazing happened today!!. After 54 days missing from the tornado that leveled our home on March 3rd we have...Posted by Eric Johnson on Sunday, April 26, 2020
Johnson said the “miracle dog” is well fed and safe at home where she belongs.
The family plans to rebuild their home at its original site. “We’re not going to let fear run us from our property and our home,” Faith Johnson said.
According to the National Weather Service office in Nashville, the tornado that ripped through Putnam Country in March was an EF-4 with winds up to 175 mph. 18 people were killed and 88 were injured in the county.
Forecasters said the twister is the first violent tornado in central Tennessee since April 2009.