BALD KNOB, Ark. (KTHV) - It's not often that a lost pet can unite an entire community, but that didn't stop the people of Bald Knob from working together to bring a happy ending to one Central Arkansas family.
On February 3rd, Kyleen Prewett of Bryant was driving through the Bald Knob area when another car crossed the center line and crashed into her head-on. The other driver was killed in the crash, and in the aftermath one of two dogs in Prewett's car ran away. The search effort that followed can only be described as heart-warming.
"I don't even know who all's name, who all helped, but I know it was everybody around there," said Sierra Hawkins. "I wanted to be able to go look for Penny and do what we could there but I was trying to take care of things back home."
After Hawkins got through the initial shock of her mother being seriously injured in the accident she started to worry about 7-year-old Penny, an American Foxhound who was in the car and ran away after the wreck.
"I mean it was such a long shot," said Hawkins. "It's a totally different town, she was traumatized, she would run, you would think objectively that there was no chance of getting her back, but because so many people jumped on it right away I honestly thought we would hear something... This whole town came together to help a total stranger."
Word spread quickly throughout Bald Knob thanks in large part to the efforts of Officer Threasha Kempson, who got the word out over the Bald Knob Animal Shelter Facebook page.
"[She] organized this massive dog hunt, got the whole community involved," said Hawkins. "This was all on her days off and her own time and she was out there until midnight a couple nights and looking in chicken houses and all kinds of, in the below-freezing temperatures."
Soon, the rest of the community joined in the search, including local Sonic Managing Partner Rhonda White who offered free coffee and hot cocoa to anyone out looking for Penny.
"Our community loves fur babies, it's an awesome community," said White. "I understand totally. I would want someone to do it for mine if mine was missing I would want someone to help me find my baby... We don't consider them a dog, for most of us they're part of our families."
"It was amazing, I'm really in awe of everybody that sacrificed their own time and energy and comfort, a lot of comfort, to look for her," added Hawkins. "I just didn't quite know how to thank them, I mean what do you do? Send cookies? Like I said, a fruit basket? I mean they brought our family back together."
Penny is now back at home and doing just fine despite spending almost a week out in the freezing cold. She even got a very special meal once reunited with her family: they took her through the drive through at McDonalds and got her a hamburger and french fries.