JennaRae Goodbar was trying to stop her dog from running into traffic when a car struck them, killing them both.
Now, the 12-year-old girl will be buried alongside her beloved pet, as family members say the pair were inseparable during their lives. As WTKR reported, the Virginia girl was trying to stop her dog from running into a busy road when they were both struck by a 2011 Chevrolet Malibu. The car happened to be driven by a friend of the family, who tried to swerve to avoid the girl and her dog.
As the WTKR report noted, JennaRae loved the dog and had saved up her own money to adopt him. She was training the dog at the time he ran out into the road.
“That dog was very special to her, because she trained it and raised it herself,” family friend Alexis Cash told WDBJ.
Classmates at JennaRae’s school are mourning her death, and the girl’s locker became a makeshift memorial where friends wrote notes and left them there. Billy Thomas, the principal of Maury River Middle School where she was a sixth grader, said the close-knit community was in shock at such a tragic death.
“Rockbridge being the small rural area that it is, the fact that everyone knows someone or is related to someone or has a friend somehow connected with everyone else,” Thomas told WDBJ. “You know, a tragedy like this just tears at the heart of our community.”
Grief counselors were on hand at the school to help students deal with the loss of their friend. Members of the community also planned to come together to celebrate the young girl’s life this week.
The outpouring of support extends beyond the community. Friends and family started a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses, and it noted that the girl and her dog shared a very close bond.
“She will always be remembered as a sweet, energetic, dog loving, hunting loving little girl – a little girl who touched the lives of many,” the page said.
The campaign has raised more than $40,000 in just three days, with people from all over the country leaving messages of condolences for the grieving family. The page was even shared by the official GoFundMe Twitter account, helping it gain viral attention.
Family members said JennaRae Goodbar will be laid to rest later this week. They plan to bury her beloved dog by her side.
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