Two police officers recently drove 650 miles from New Jersey to South Carolina to reunite a dog with her family.
The epic road trip, which was more than 10 hours long, happened last Thursday, according to a news release this week from the Wall Township Police Department in New Jersey.
But the story actually starts on July 15, when Patrolman Frank Kuhl responded to a 34-year-old man from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, who needed medical attention. That man had a dog with him -- a female basset hound named Bella.
“One of his reservations was what was going to happen with Bella, who he was clearly very, very attached to," Kuhl told ABC-owned station WABC in New York. He then promised the man that he would take care of Bella and ensure she would be able to get back to her family.
Bella had to be first taken in by the Monmouth County Humane Society, Wall Township Police said. Kuhl later learned that the shelter could only hold Bella for seven days before she would have to be put up for adoption.
Remembering his promise, Kuhl contacted Bella's other owner in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to see if that owner could come up to Jersey to pick Bella. However, the owner was was "distraught" because they said they could not make the trip, Wall Township Police said.
Going above and beyond the call of duty, Kuhl decided to temporarily take in Bella at his family's home while he made arrangements to find a way to get her back to Myrtle Beach.
"I put her in the backseat, and no sooner than opening my front door to get in the driver seat, she jumped into the front passenger seat and then turned around and looked at me as if to say, 'I sit here,'" Kuhl told WABC with a laugh.
The basset hound was warmly welcomed by Kuhl, his wife, kids and their two dogs, and she stayed with them for 11 days.
Another patrolman with the police department, Michael Tancredi, approached Kuhl during this time and said he could help drive down Bella to South Carolina.
Kuhl and Tancredi set off on Aug. 4 with Bella, cruising down the East Coast on a mission to get her home.
"She gave us a lot of laughs and a lot of memories," Kuhl told WABC. "It was very difficult to see her leave we all fell in love with her.
He added, "I had the chance to help out and, ultimately, it's something I can be proud of. It was a fun experience and very much worth it."
Bella's co-owner "expressed gratitude" to Kuhl and Tancredi for "all of their work and assistance in returning the dog," Wall Township Police said.