Dog reunited with owner weeks after fatal wreck

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 2, 2010

With the help of a 9-year-old Vicksburg girl, a Jackson man has been reunited with his dog that was lost after being in a wreck that killed the man’s wife and her brother two weeks ago.

James Gattis picked up his 1-year-old teacup Chihuahua named Little Bit Sunday after it had spent more than a week with the Tillman family in Edwards after running away after the wreck.

“I’m very glad I found my dog,” Gattis said Monday. “I’ve been looking for it for two weeks. I buried my wife on Sunday and I found the dog on Sunday.”

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“That dog was so glad to see him,” Delores Tillman said. “I think they were glad to see each other.”

Tillman said Little Bit had wandered into her yard, which is less than a mile from where Gattis’ wife, Theresa, and brother-in-law, John Sanders, were killed in a car wreck on U.S. 80 just east of Edwards on Jan. 19.

She said the dog would not let anyone get near her.

Little Bit “would play with our dog during the day then disappear at night,” she said. “But my husband said he saw it come from under our house Sunday morning.”

After hearing that, she sent her grandniece, Charnida Stapleton, to befriend the dog because she noticed the dog was wearing a red collar and looking well kept.

Charnida, the daughter of Vicksburg residents Elizabeth Montgomery and Marcus Stapleton, was able to lure Little Bit with a piece of meat and get close enough to read her dog tag.

Tillman said she called the phone number on the tag hoping to reach the owner. Instead, she got in touch with the dog’s veterinarian, who called Gattis and told him his dog had been found.

“He was just glad to get his dog back,” Tillman said. “I was glad for him.”

Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at