WESTON (CBS4) – An 11 year old lab mix is bringing a South Florida family some comfort after a deadly Christmas Eve crash.
Chris Goss died in the accident on I-95 in Volusia County. She was traveling home from vacation with her family and their dog, Tasha.
The loss devastated Goss’s fiancé Steven Hausman and the family. Goss and Hausman planned to marry in August, but they became a family a long time ago. Steven and his daughter Elyssa moved in with Chris and her children, Amanda and Jeffery.
“Bloodlines didn’t matter,” explained Elyssa, 17. “It was just the love we had for each other and the connections we had.”
Amanda was away at school when the rest of her family was in the accident.
“I got a phone call from my stepdad that they had been in a car crash and my mom didn’t make it,” she said.
Through their grief the family realized another family member was missing. Tasha, the family dog, likely flew through the back windshield. No one could find her after the crash.
The dog was more than just the family pet, she was a connection to Chris.
“Tasha was always by her side,” said Amanda.
From their home in Weston, Goss’s children called every organization they could to ask for help finding their dog, but it was hard to stay hopeful.
“I was fully prepared that she was dead,” said Jeffery.
Then, the day after their mother’s funeral, the call came. Tasha was alive.
A Volusia County animal services worker caught her after several people reported seeing her along the same stretch of 95 where the car crashed nearly a week earlier.
Animal Services Worker Toni Contarino said the dog ran into the woods, but she followed her. The dog was dehydrated and had a large gash on her head. Contarino took her to a local vet who performed surgery.
“I was just happy to get her back to her family,” said Contarino.
A veterinarian at Ravenwood Veterinary Clinic performed surgery on Tasha’s head wound, and an employee drove her four hours home to Weston.
”Her coming home was the first time we had all smiled in six days,” said Amanda, adding, “I think my mom had something to do with the dog making it. I’ve never believed in miracles or anything like that it’s just there’s no other way to explain it .”
Now that she’s home, Elyssa says the family is finding some comfort.
“She fills a small part of the very large hole that we all have in our hearts.”