Folks have asked what happened to Holly, the Chesapeake Bay Retriever that survived a horrific wreck on I-35 last Tuesday that killed her truck driver companion, Benny Gerlock. Yes, the Dallas Animal Services and the good people of Holly’s and Benny’s hometown of Rock Hall, Maryland, were working together to help the pooch through this transition.
The officer who brought her in had offered to adopt her, but it seems Holly and Benny were too well known and liked in the town of 6,000-plus. The twosome’s friends appreciated all the help and offers to keep her in Dallas, but they also knew that Holly was a lover of cold weather and the Texas heat might not be to her liking. Besides, she belonged home in familiar surroundings.
So, Joe Creighton and Russell Nordhoff left Rock Hall Saturday and arrived in Dallas just before noon today to give the 7-year-old chocolate retriever a ride home.
While waiting for Holly and her foster mom DFW Rescue Me volunteer Tiffany Chen to arrive, Russell told how a fund was under way in Rock Hall for Holly. She’ll be living with Benny’s stepfather and a fence was needed.
In talking about their late friend, they recalled how Benny had gotten Holly as a puppy and they’d been inseparable. “If he liked you, he’d do anything for you. If he didn’t, well . . .” said Joe.
As a TV camera finished interviewing Joe and Russell, Tiffany and Holly arrived on the scene. As the DAS staff welcomed Holly with smiles and phone cameras, Russell called out to her. She looked at him. There was a familiar voice. Then she caught a whiff of Maryland. Her tail went into overtime and she actually seemed relieved to be with old friends. Russell knelt down, hugged her and bowed his head with her. It almost seemed as if they were consoling each other over their loss of Benny.
During her stay in Dallas, Tiffany reported that the retriever had been a perfect house guest for the past four days. Well, a perfect house guest, except for the snoring. Tiffany lavished her with “lots of cuddles, hugs and belly rubs.”
But before Tiffany, there had been that horrible night when her world changed forever — the slamming of the 18-wheeler against the concrete pillar, the sirens, the lights, the strange people offering help. Worst of it was that Benny wasn’t handling things like he always had. Then a kind soul took her to a big building where hundreds of dogs were barking. Something was terribly wrong. The people at the building knew Holly was confused, trying to sort out what had happened. They arranged to have Holly spend time with Tiffany. Still, Holly knew that Benny would be just around the corner.
After a final group photo and Holly receiving a Dallas Cowboys neckerchief, Joe, Russell and Holly went into the DAS to fill out paperwork. It seems that during her Dallas stay, the DAS staff had taken up a collection to have her rabies updated and a microchip implanted.
Unfortunately, despite all the efforts and compassion of old and new friends, Holly continued to scan the crowd of well-wishers for her best friend.
No one has been able to explain to Holly what happened to Benny. No one ever will.
The next time you’re in Rock Hall, ask to see Holly. It seems everyone knows her. They’re that kind of community and she’s that kind of dog.