Local Dog Nabs Award for Alerting Family to Tornado

PETA Honors Bella the Dog With a Special Gift Basket

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2020

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Cookeville, Tenn. – A Heroic Dog Award is on its way from PETA to Bella, the dog who saved her family by waking them up early in the morning on March 3, just minutes before a devastating tornado hit. Thanks to Bella’s warning, Faith and Eric Johnson and their two children survived the tornado. But after it hit, their house was destroyed—and Bella was missing.

The next morning, Eric went back to where their home had stood and left his shirt at the property for Bella to track his scent. She didn’t return, but the Johnsons started getting reports from community members who had seen her. They followed up on every lead, left food out for her wherever she was sighted, and drove around daily searching for her. Finally, 54 days after the tornado hit, they received word that some neighbors had managed to contain her in a fenced-in yard. “Eric scaled the fence to get to her, and as soon as she saw him, he was covered in kisses,” Faith says. “She was ecstatic to be reunited with her family.”

“Bella gave her family a lifesaving warning, and in turn, they never stopped searching for her,” says PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien. “PETA is honoring this brave dog and hopes that this story inspires everyone always to treat dogs like family.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—offers tornado survival tips for animals. Anyone who sees animals in distress and is unable to help should note their locations and alert authorities immediately—and guardians should always plan to bring animals with them during emergency evacuations.

Bella will receive a framed certificate and a special gift basket filled with toys and vegan dog treats.

PETA opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA, please visit PETA.org.

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