GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A dog being reunited with her owner is giving a happy ending to a tragic story.
A beautiful Golden Retriever named Sandy is now on her way home to Florida after an incredible story of survival.
"We have been really fortunate to look after this beautiful soul for the last couple of days and we are part of her journey home," said Dawn Boob at the Humane Society.
Her home is more than 500 miles away, but she found herself at the Humane Society of South Mississippi after a tragic turn of events.
According to Boob, Sandy came into their care after she was found in a car on the side of I-10 in Harrison County. She had been trapped there in the car for eight days with her deceased owner.
The owner was traveling home from Texas to Florida for the holidays when he died of natural causes on the way, according to the Harrison County Coroner.
"They had one transaction where he had stopped at a gas station and then his wife just never heard from him again, so it was kind of a frantic search," said Michelle Londke, a friend of the family.
Harrison County Sheriff Troy Peterson said the vehicle was first noticed by a tow truck driver on Saturday near the Kiln-Delisle Rd. exit. Deputies responded to a call from the same tow truck driver who stopped Sunday to see if the vehicle had been marked by the sheriff's department.
That's when the tow driver noticed the man inside but didn't know if he was sleeping or something was wrong. A deputy responded and discovered the man was dead.
Londke and Sherryl Jenkinson, both from the Tampa Bay area, got in touch with the humane society and a trip was organized to pick up Sandy. The pair made the trip with the help of their community.
Now, the friends are going back with heavy hearts, but a sense of joy in getting this girl back home. After going through so much, this leg of the trip will likely be pretty good for Sandy.
"Mama said she could have a cheeseburger on the way home. So we're going to make a pit stop at McDonald's. We're going to spoil her on the way home," said Londke.