HOHENWALD, TN (WSMV) - It’s hard to lose a pet, and for one Hohenwald family, it's even harder because they never got to say goodbye.

Richie Tyler, his wife Beth Garland, and their three children adopted Heinz, an Australian Shepherd mix six years ago.

“He’s a Heinz 57! He was just a big dorky dog. But we loved him to death. He just fit in,” Beth said.


In late September, Richie and Beth became worried when Bear went missing. He wasn’t there to meet the kids off the school bus.

“He does like to run a little bit, but he always comes home,” she said.

They posted Bear’s picture on Facebook, then they got the bad news.

A TDOT worker had found Bear on the side of the road not far from their house.

The workers buried him on state property.

What upsets the family is that no one tried to contact them to let them know what had happened or to give the family a chance to collect their pet's remains.

“If they had just tried a little bit, he would have been home and buried with us and we could have said our goodbyes,” Beth said.

They say that Bear was wearing a collar which had a tag with his address on it.

A TDOT spokesperson said its crew did follow protocol. “We encourage maintenance staff to remove the collars to get contact information if they feel comfortable doing so,” TDOT went on to say.

“I feel like they just didn’t have any heart about it. Like they just really don’t care. Cause it wasn’t their animal. But he was somebody to US. He was ours,” Beth said.

TDOT added, “We do understand the grief caused by the death of a family pet.”

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