Dog adopted by victim's friends after surviving deadly crash
JAX Chamber employee Callie Crump among those killed in I-10 crashes
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce employee was among two people killed in two separate crashes Nov. 25 on eastbound Interstate 10, and her beloved dog was presumed dead when first responders couldn't find him in the wreckage or at the scene.
But Buddy was found and he was adopted by the family of one of 36-year-old Callie Crump's best friends from work.
"Buddy belonged to a dear friend of mine who I've known for several years. We worked together, we worshiped together and spent many Saturdays together," said Becky Arnold, who became very close with Crump while working at the JAX Chamber in downtown Jacksonville.
A day after Crump's funeral in Thomasville, Georgia, and the night before a memorial held in Jacksonville, Arnold explained that they thought her dog was gone too in the wreck that claimed Crump's life last week.
Until she received a phone call a day later.
"So I answered it and a gentleman on the phone said he was from animal services, and had a curly-headed, blonde, small dog," Arnold said. "Of course, I immediately cried. But that's how we found out Buddy was alive. A JSO (Jacksonville Sheriff's Office) officer found him on I-10."
Becky and her husband, Ron Arnold, told News4Jax how much they loved Crump and how it was a family decision to say "yes" when Crump's parents asked if they would keep Buddy.
The Arnold family, who hadn't had a pet in decades, decided to adopt Buddy, as much in honor of their lost friend as any desire for an energetic dog turning 2 years old next month.
"A couple of times over the last year or so, in casual conversation, she said, 'If something were to happen to me, would you take Buddy?' I said, 'Of course, of course I would,' never thinking Buddy would end up in our home," Arnold said.
They love Buddy, because they adored Crump.
"Callie was a very special person. She was always joyful. When she'd be at the Chamber in the morning, she was always singing, doing praise and worship. She had the tenderest heart of anyone I've ever known and the finest Christian I've ever known," Arnold said.
Arnold said it isn't bittersweet having Buddy around to remind her of the friend that she lost -- only sweet -- because she knows where Crump is and where she'll be someday too.
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