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Cat reunited with family for the holidays

A Cumberland County couple was recently reunited with their cat who escaped the Father’s Day car accident they were in.

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WADE, N.C. — A Cumberland County couple was recently reunited with their cat, which escaped their Father’s Day car accident.

Jonathan Dennington, 36, and Rachel Dennington, 31, were living in Parkton at the time of the June 15 accident.

They were heading home from Goldsboro when a car, driven by 17-year-old Cassie Carter, crossed the center lane and collided head-on into the Denningtons’ Ford Escape, authorities said.

All of them were taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Jonathan Dennington was unconscious for three weeks.

“They didn’t know if I was going to have full function of my brain, if I was gonna be able to walk again,” Jonathan Dennington said.

He was released from the hospital on July 25.

Rachel spent 4½ months in the hospital and recently got out of a wheelchair.

The couple’s three children – Heather, 10; Sebastian, 6; and Garrett, 4 - were not in the car that day, but their cat, Jerry, and dog, Daisy, were.

“Our pets were never just pets,” Rachel Dennington said. “They have personalities. They’re loved.”

Sylvia Mintz lives along U.S. Highway 13 northeast of Fayetteville, not far from the accident site. During the summer, she said her cat, Chloe, got a new companion.

“I just thought that it was a stray because we have them occasionally,” Mintz said.

Mintz said never encouraged the cat to stay and often tried to send him away. The cat got into a routine of running and hiding whenever Mintz showed up. But the week before Thanksgiving, the cat didn’t run away.

“It was just sitting on the porch and it just kind of let out this long meow, like it was trying to tell me something,” Mintz said.

With the help of Fayetteville Observer newspaper columnist Bill Kirby, the Mintzs tracked down the Denningtons, who have been living in Goldsboro with Jonathan’s parents since the accident.

On Saturday, the Mintzs reunited Jerry with the Denningtons.

“I bawled,” Rachel Dennington said. “They let me pull him out of the cat carrier and I just cried.”

Mintz and her co-workers at Sandhills Direct Care have offered to sponsor the Denningtons this Christmas.

The Denningtons said they can only hope Daisy, their brown, white and black beagle, found a good, safe and loving home.


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