Stranger Drives Child’s Dog Miles To Reunite Them After Learning His Story

The power of social media is something our brains can’t really grasp: you post some silly update, and in a flash, it can be seen by people all over the world. In the wildest scenarios, a single post — an image, some words — can rally good people to a great cause.

In 2018, the Miller family of North Carolina learned all about the power of social media. Struck by tragedy and separated from their beloved dog, the family sent out a desperate plea for help online. The unbelievable response showed them the heights of human kindness…

As the holidays were approaching, the Miller family needed to figure out what they were going to do for Christmas. The decision, this year, would be tough: their home in North Carolina had been destroyed.

KUTV

When Hurricane Florence battered the East Coast in 2017, the Miller’s home succumbed to the swift waters and raging wind. Their house was left unlivable, but they were determined to rebuild.

Debbie Elliott / NPR

Riddled with hard times, Jacob and Jamie Miller wanted a break from their chaotic life. Lucky for them, family and friends were willing to take them in, while their beloved German Shepherd puppy, Frank, stayed in South Carolina with grandma.

Donna Javaras / Facebook

So, they boarded a plane and traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to spend Christmas with their extended family. Still, their two boys, Perryn and Rayner, wished their furry friend could join the celebrations.

Donna Javaras / Facebook

Then, shortly after arriving in Utah and just days before Christmas, the oldest son, Perryn, complained of a persistent headache and intense pressure in his head. Concerned for their son, Jacob and Jamie rushed him to the hospital.

Go Fund Me

Upon arrival, doctors immediately examined Perryn to determine what was wrong. Facing test after test, all 8-year-old Perryn could think about was his puppy back home.

Donna Javaras / Facebook

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, doctors were able to pinpoint the cause of Perryn’s pain. Nothing could have prepared the Millers for what the doctors were about to tell them.

Perryn, doctors said, had a tumor growing on his brain. He was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive, deadly form of cancer, especially in children.

KUTV

Nothing breaks a parent’s heart faster than hearing the words “aggressive,” “deadly,” and “cancer” in relation to their child. But just like every other devastation the Millers had gone through, they weren’t going down without a fight.

KUTV

One last kiss from his parents, and Perryn was rushed into emergency surgery. In an effort to comfort him, Jacob and Jamie promised Frank could visit him once he was out of surgery.

Jennifer Reynolds / Facebook

After several hours, and with much relief, the surgery was completed; doctors successfully removed the tumor from Perryn’s brain. A victory in the young boy’s fight, sure, but there were still mountains to climb in his recovery.

Go Fund Me

A surgery of that magnitude involves significant recovery time, followed by a rigorous course of chemotherapy or radiation treatments to insure zero cancerous cells remain in the body. This meant that the Millers were staying in Utah indefinitely.

Even there, however, they were willing to do whatever it took to help their little boy, even if that meant taking an unpaid extended leave from work and staying put with just a weekend bag. Still, something was missing from their home away from home.

Their German Shepherd, Frank, was stuck in North Carolina. He was only 8 months old at the time, and grandma just couldn’t handle him on her own. And Perryn desperately wanted to be with him.

The Millers

With the help of grandma, they looked into the cost of transporting Frank from North Carolina to Utah, but the $3,600 fee — on top of medical bills and relocation costs — was overwhelming.

Grandma had one last idea though: their community was so generous when they helped the Millers get back on their feet after Hurricane Florence, would it be too much to ask for their help once more?

She posted a Facebook plea requesting if anyone had ideas on how to transport Frank approximately 2,300 miles back to Perryn and his family. Unexpectedly, the post spread across social media like wildfire.

Donna Javaras / Facebook

News of the family’s story reached Wisconsin, where it landed on the screen of Rob and Jennifer Reynolds. Touched by the story, Jennifer shared the heartbreaking post with her husband, a former truck driver.

Jennifer Reynolds / Facebook

With little hesitation, Rob knew he needed to volunteer his time and help reunite this deserving family with their beloved dog. He felt that Frank could “help [Perryn] recover.”

Robert Reynolds / Facebook

Rising before the sun, Rob packed up his Subaru Outback at 4:30 a.m. and embarked on the nearly 20-hour trip from his home in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, to North Carolina. This was just the beginning of the long trip ahead of him.

By the morning of January 3rd, Rob had reached North Carolina to pick up the energetic pup. The next leg of the trip was going to be long and tiring, but Rob hoped that Frank would help him get through it. 

Donna Javaras / Facebook

Since the story had already spread across the internet, Rob posted updates on Facebook in regards to their 2,300 mile cross-country trip. As it turns out, Frank was an amazing travel companion!

“Frank and I got along very well,” Rob said. He “would sleep or play with his toys. We’d stop and go for walks. If he wanted to use the bathroom, he’d bump my right arm. He was perfect.”

Robert Reynolds / Facebook

The trip was going so well that Rob even offered to drive Frank back to North Carolina in the future if need be. But after 52 hours of driving, Rob hoped that wouldn’t be the case…

Robert Reynolds / Facebook

 

On January 5, 2019, Rob and Frank arrived in Salt Lake City. No one was waiting outside the snowy home, but Frank sensed his family was near by — the pooch ran right to the front door of the home!

Seventy-two hours after leaving North Carolina, Rob rang the doorbell in anticipation, unsure what state the family would be in on the other side. As the front door swung open, Rob knew the drive was totally worth it.

Facebook

Frank and the Millers went crazy at the sight of each other! For the first time in what seemed like forever, Perryn’s face lit up with excitement. The boy explained, “I felt really excited to see Frank. I just really like Frank, and he’s a good dog.”

Facebook

Forever indebted to this kind stranger, Jacob explained “It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been hard. But it’s been overwhelmingly awesome at the same time.”

Go Fund Me

After everything the family had been through, it was a blessing to have Frank back in their arms. The only thing left to do was keep on fighting. The family created a GoFundMe me account to help lessen the financial strains of Perryn’s treatment moving forward.

CBS News

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