But not until after traveling a pretty bumpy road.
In December, the beagle-German shepherd landed in the Nash County Animal Shelter in North Carolina, where, after going unadopted, the day was nearing when he’d be euthanized.
His cause was taken up by a local animal rescue group, Promoting Animal Welfare in N.C., which persuaded a rescue group in Vermont to take him in.
Arrangements were made to ship him north, where he was deemed more likely to get adopted.
As the Rocky Mount Telegram tells it, Felix and another dog were headed up Interstate 95 in January when the van they were in crashed in Emporia, Virginia. Both dogs were ejected from their crates and the vehicle. The other dog was hit by a car and killed. Felix disappeared.
Felix spent the next three weeks wandering as dog lovers in North Carolina and Virginia joined forces to try and find him. They created “Operation Finding Felix” — a Facebook page that quickly drew more than 1,000 followers.
Frequently, sightings of him were reported, by residents and truckers who also were keeping an eye out for him. But none panned out. Promoting Animal Welfare offered a $600 reward for his return, and a search dog was hired to help track him down, but neither led to immediate results.
Each weekend, volunteers searched for the dog around Emporia, posting fliers, hiking through the woods, and enlisting the help of others, like the manager of a local Burger King who allowed volunteers to post fliers about Felix inside the restaurant.
On Feb. 24, one of the restaurant’s customers, Pat Holland, saw the dog’s picture and realized she had seen him by her apartment earlier that day.
She rushed home and found the dog on a neighbor’s front steps.
“He looked like he was hungry, so I put some food out there for him to eat and put some water out there,” the neighbor, Marty Newkirk said. “The next thing I know he was laying down at my door.”
Newkirk had let the dog inside. He was planning on letting him stay the night, and even thinking about contacting apartment management about the possibility of keeping him.
Newkirk and Holland called police, who had also been cooperating in the search for Felix.
“They were looking for the dog also,” Newkirk said. “Everybody in Virginia was looking for the dog.”
Volunteers from the North Carolina rescue group came and picked Felix up, Newkirk said. “They started crying because they were happy to see the dog, I started crying because they were taking him.”
Back in North Carolina, back where he started, Felix finally found a home.
Before his ill-fated trip north — while Felix was getting neutered, and vaccinated, and treated for heartworm — he was being fostered by a young woman. She’d tried to persuade her boyfriend and his family to adopt Felix. Already having a dog, they declined.
When Felix got back to town, after all he’d been through, they changed their minds.
(Photo: Rocky Mount Telegram)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 95, accident, adoption, animal shelter, animals, burger king, crash, death row, dog, dogs, euthanasia, facebook, felix, interstate, lost, missing, nash county, north carolina, operation finding felix, pets, promoting animal welfare, rescue group, rescued, rocky mount, transport
A Boston terrier who was shaken up in a massive freeway pileup in Detroit was carried to safety by a firefighter who knows a few things about dogs in distress.
Matt Schaecher works as a Detroit firefighter two days a week, and as a cruelty investigator for the Humane Society of Huron Valley for the other five.
When Schaecher came upon a woman’s crumpled car at the mile-long accident scene on southbound Interstate 75, he asked if she needed help. “I think my dog might be injured,” she responded.
Schaecher pulled the dog, named Riley, from the car and checked him out while other emergency workers attended to the driver, Heather Ramsey of Ferndale.
“He was shaking almost uncontrollably,” Schaecher said. “Probably a combination of being extremely scared and cold.” As Shaecher cradled the dog in a blanket, Detroit News photographer David Coates took the photo above.
Riley wasn’t injured, and Shaecher placed the dog in the ambulance with his owner. Ramsey has since been released from the hospital, according to AnnArbor.com
Three people, including two children, were killed in the chain reaction of crashes.
Schaecher, who is the lead cruelty investigator for the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Washtenaw County’s Superior Township, said the widely distributed photo of Riley and him served as a positive note amid the lingering horror of the crash.
“Obviously any accident scene or any emergency scene that involves children is extremely difficult,” he said. My heart just goes out to the families of the people that have lost loved ones. I can’t imagine being in that position.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, boston terrier, chain reaction, crash, cruelty, detroit, dog, dogs, firefighter, Humane Society of Huron Valley, interstate 75, investigator, Matt Schaecher, pets, photo, photograph, pileup, rescue, rescued, riley, whiteout
The dog was on a paddle boat on Duck Lake with her owner, Ashlee Johnson, when a speed boat crashed into them.
Johnson and her younger sister received only cuts and scrapes, but Roxci was thrown from the boat, suffering a severe gash to the head and nearly drowning.
The dog was taken an animal hospital at Michigan State University, where she was kept on a ventilator in hopes she’d recover.
Ashlee, who adopted Roxci — her first dog — from a shelter about two years ago, visited twice a day for a week, and was encouraged when she saw Roxci’s eye twitch, a sign her brain might still be functioning.
“To me, she’s not just a dog,” Johnson, 28, told the Battle Creek Enquirer. “She’s a part of my family and you can’t really put a price on a member of your family.”
After Rocxi passed, Ashlee gathered with the rest of her family at her mother’s home in Battle Creek.
They read poems and the comments of friends and strangers who posted on a Facebook page dedicated to Roxci.
“I know it’s not my fault,” she said, “but I feel kind of responsible. I’m supposed to protect her.”
Through donations, about $1,800 had been raised towards covering Roxci’s medical bills, which could end up costing as much as $10,000.
The family is continuing to accept online donations. They can also be made through the mail (12954 11 Mile Road, Ceresco, MI 49033).
The driver of the speedboat, though sheriff’s department officials said he had been drinking, did not test above the legal limit. He was cited for reckless driving and not having valid registration.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 14th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, ashlee johnson, bills, boating, care, costs, crash, dead, death, dies, dog, dogs, duck lake, expense, facebook, killed, medical, memories, mixed breed, mutt, paddle boat, pets, remembered, roxci, speedboat, treatment, ventilator, veterinary
Elicia Calhoun, an agility trainer, competitor and speaker, rolled her car while traveling through the Arizona desert last week.
All six dogs aboard were thrown from the vehicle.
What happened next — and you can read the full details at Petweekly.com – is equal parts sad and inspiring.
In the immediate aftermath, other motorists stopped and helped a bruised and battered Calhoun find three of the dogs, all alive – BreeSea and Iceman, both border collies, and Destiny, an Australian shepherd.
Three more were missing, including her 13-week-old Kelpi puppy named Tsunami, who had been secured in a crate in the front seat; another Australian shepherd named Nika; and Tobie, another border collie.
When the paramedics insisted Calhoun get in the ambulance, she refused until bystanders, including a border patrol agent, promised to keep looking for her dogs.
While Calhoun was being treated for cuts bruises and a punctured lung, word of the accident hit the Internet, and, within a matter of hours, 3,000 people had joined in a newly created Facebook group, many of them offering to help.
Calhoun, against the advice of doctors, signed herself out of the hospital to continue searching for her dogs, and learned as she was leaving that Tsunami’s body had been found.
According to the Petweekly.com story, by Deborah Davidson Harpur, volunteers were showing up to help in the search by then, and others were offering their assistance from afar, including animal communicators, pilots, ranchers who lived in the surrounding area, and HAM and CB radio operators. Someone even volunteered a military heat-seeking device.
By then, the number of members of the Facebook group had grown to 6,000.
Sadly, Nika’s body was found in the median of the freeway. With the three surviving dogs found initially, and the two later found dead, that left only one unaccounted for — Tobie
Elicia slept outside that night, in case Tobie came to look for her, and other volunteers slept in their cars or camped alongside the road before resuming the search for the remaining dog the next day.
That morning, Tobie was spotted by a volunteer. Elicia rushed to the location, spotted the dog running down the highway in front of a truck and eventually got Tobie to come to her.
Iceman, Destiny, and Breesea have some minor injuries, but they, and Tobie, who had been hit by a car, are expected to fully recover in the coming months.
Calhoun, on Facebook, offered thanks to all those that helped:
“Words cannot express my gratitude. I have just been home a few nights and am finally starting to absorb the impact of what has transpired. Walking into my house that first night was indescribable. My life is changed in so many ways now. I realize how blessed I was in surviving this crash.”
Posted by jwoestendiek June 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, agility, agility dogs, animals, arizona, australian shepherds, border collies, breesea, car, community, competitor, crash, desert, destiny, dogs, ejected, elicia calhoun, facebook, group, iceman, lost, missing, pack, page, pets, rollover, search, speaker, thrown, tobie, trainer, tsunami, vehicle, volunteers
A Salt Lake City woman, critically injured in a car crash that claimed her husband and one of her dogs, has reunited with her other dog, who bolted from the scene of the crash in the Nevada desert and survived on his own for 53 days.
Barbara Bagley says she never gave up hope that her 4-year-old Shetland sheepdog, Dooley, would be found alive.
The dog was tracked down Feb. 18, the Associated Press reports.
Dooley’s weight had dropped from 44 pounds to 20 pounds when he was found, after nearly two months surviving on roadkill. He was once spotted devouring a dead coyote along the roadway, and, after he was found, a long bird bone was pulled from his throat by a veterinarian.
Bagley hadn’t seen the dog since Dec. 27, when she suffered a concussion, broken ribs, a shattered wrist and two punctured lungs in the single vehicle accident on Interstate 80 near Battle Mountain, about 225 miles east of Reno.
Delaney, the family’s other sheltie, was killed in the wreck. Her 55-year-old husband, Brad Vom Baur, was critically injured, and died Jan. 6.
That was the same day that a dog’s remains were found near the interstate — presumed to be Dooley’s.
“It was a horrible day for me,” Bagley recalled. “But something inside me told me Dooley was still alive out there. I wasn’t 100 percent sure, but I didn’t grieve for Dooley like I did for my husband and our other dog.”
Three weeks later, though, Bagley’s spirits were lifted when a woman reported spotting “a Lassie-type” dog near the accident scene. Bagley joined in the search that followed, but it turned up nothing. In mid-February, there was another sighting, by a member of a railroad crew.
Finally, the dog was cornered and taken in by friends and others who had joined in the search and reunited with Bagley.
“I was overjoyed that I was going to have him back in my life. I think he felt the same about me,” she said.
Bagley, while still grieving her husband’s death and recovering from her injuries, said Dooley’s presence has helped in the struggle.
“He’s the physical and mental affection that I need to recover,” she said. “I owe him so much for the hope I have now and the renewed faith I have in prayer. Dogs are so great because of their unconditional love.”
(Photo: Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animals, barbara bagley, battle mountain, car, crash, dogs, dooley, grief, interstate, mourning, nevada, pets, reunion, reunited, road kill, roadkill, search, sheltie, shetland sheep dog, sightings, survival
A dog that survived a South Dakota car crash that killed her owner has been picked up by her master’s three sons, who drove from North Carolina to reclaim the 12-year-old Australian shepherd.
Lester, Bobby Jr. and Troy Allgood traveled to the town of Kadoka in southwest South Dakota to pick up their father’s belongings and Ladybug.
Bobby Allgood Sr., 74, of Reed Point, Mont., was killed Feb. 6 when his car rolled over on Interstate 90. Ladybug ran away after the crash, but spent the next nine days in the general area, revisiting the site and eluding capture.
“She looks real good. It’s taken a weight off my heart,” Lester Allgood told the Rapid City Journal.
“Getting her back fills a big void for us. It helps fill that void anyway,” Troy Allgood said.
“It’s kind of sad and happy both,” said Bobby Allgood Jr. “My daddy really loved that dog. They were like two peas in a pod, those two.”
The dog was first picked up nine days after the accident, by Anne Harding and her son, Parker, of Rapid City, who read about sightings of the dog near the accident scene and coaxed her into their car after spotting her along Interstate 90. They turned the dog over to Kadoka Police Chief Forrest “Woody” Davis.
But when Davis took her to a city-owned dog kennel, she escaped. Hours later she was relocated, and, after a chase, recovered. This time Davis took her home with him.
“I haven’t dared to let her off the chain since, because I don’t want to have to chase her again,” Davis said. “She’s fast for an old dog.”
The police chief boarded her at his home and waited for the Allgoods to make their trip from North Carolina. “In the beginning, she was pretty scared,” Davis said. “It took a couple days for her to calm down and start making friends with me.”
The Allgood brothers gave Davis a gold chain in thanks.
“Here in Kadoka, I think there must be great people to help us get my daddy’s dog back,” Lester Allgood said.
“Ain’t many places you can go that will do stuff like that,” said Bobby Allgood Jr. “It’s a very special place.”
(Photo by Aaron Rosenblatt / Rapid City Journal)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 29th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, allgood, animals, australian shepherd, bobby, crash, dog, father, forrest davis, kadoka, killed, ladybug, lester, north carolina, pets, pick-up, police chief, reclaim, site, south dakota, trip, troy
That amazing network of humans that transports dogs from places they are not wanted to places where they might find a better life has lost one of its members.
When Bugg did not show up to hand Elyse off for the next leg of her journey, the organization Rescue Road Warriors did some checking and got the grim news from state police.
Bugg’s vehicle had spun out of control in the freezing rain and slammed into a center median, bursting into flames.
Bugg was described by friends as a warm, friendly, cheerful woman who was dedicated to animals, according to Examiner.com.
Donations in Bugg’s memory can be made to Tucumcari Animal Hospital, 101 N. 10th St., Tucumcari, NM 88401.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accident, adoptions, amarillo, animals, car, catherine bugg, crash, dogs, donations, elyse, i-40, ice storm, lifeline, lives, network, pets, puppy, rescue, rescue road warriors, road warriors, saving, transport, tucumcari, video
And, given it’s “National Pet Travel Safety Day” — yes, really — what better time to share that news.
Phil Nichols, 79, was heading back to Arizona from Helena, Montana, on Nov. 28 when he discovered his 6-year-old Lab mix, Buddy, was missing.
Buddy rode in the camper in the bed of Nichols’ pickup — and we won’t debate the safety of that practice here. He was in the camper, Nichols said, when he stopped for gas in Dillon. But on his next stop, Idaho Falls, he checked and found Buddy was gone.
Nichols drove 150 miles back to Dillon and spent a day and a half searching before heading, doglessly, back to Arizona.
In Pocatello, Idaho, Nichols, cut off by another car, hit a guardrail and rolled his vehicle. He wasn’t seriously injured, but the camper was crushed. Nichols wonders if Buddy somehow had a “sixth sense” about the accident and got out of the camper — though he doesn’t know how — before it was too late.
“I think the dog has more brains than I do,” said Nichols, who adopted Buddy from an animal shelter.
One month after Buddy’s disappearance, back in Montana, animal control officers got a call Thursday about a wounded stray dog in the Buxton area, about 10 miles southwest of Butte, according to the Billings Gazette.
Animal control officer Charlie Dick responded, spending 45 minutes coaxing the limping dog toward him with treats, before snagging him.
The dog was emaciated, had scratches on his face, and a wounded rear foot. In addition to freezing temperatures, and having to survive in the wild, Buddy had been shot with BB’s, X-rays by a veterinarian revealed.
“What a little survivor,” Dick said. ” He was out there a long time.”
Animal control was able to locate and contact Buddy’s owner through a lost dog ad on Craigslist, which had been posted by Nichols’ daughter in Helena.
Nichols said he plans to reunite with Buddy once the vet pronounces the dog ready to leave, but that he may call his dog before then.
“I just want them to put the phone to his ear and let him hear my voice,” Nichols said. “I think that would make him feel better.”
(Photo: Buddy and Nichols before they got separated)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animal control, animals, arizona, buddy, butte, buxton, camper, crash, dillon, dog, dogs, emaciated, found, freezing, idaho springs, injured, lab, lost, mix, montana, month, national pet travel safety day, pets, phil nichols, reunion, reunite, shot, survival, survivor, travel, wilds
The Quay County Sun in Michigan reports that Caesar — a Maltese who was never located after the crash — recently turned up at the Tucumcari shelter, where a volunteer was able to track down his owner, Monica Benson, after he was scanned for a microchip.
“This has been the best news we have received in a year,” said Benson, who lost her husband and a daughter in the accident.
Caesar is expected to arrive home in Clio, Michigan, this week, where Benson’s four surviving children have made welcome home posters for him.
The Benson family was traveling westbound on I-40 near Tucumcari on June 15, 2010, when their Chevrolet mini-van overturned, killing Gary Benson, Monica’s husband, and their daughter Emily.
One of the other children, Benjamin was placed in an intensive care unit.
“While Benjamin was in the ICU, we placed pictures of him and Caesar on the walls.” Monica Benson said. “When he woke up he would point at the pictures and say Caesar.”
(Family photo of Benjamin and Caesar)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 11th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, benjamin benson, caesar, clio, crash, dog, emily benson, found, gary benson, i-40, lost, maltese, michigan, microchip, monica benson, new mexico, posters, rescue, returning, reunion, shelter, traffic, tucumcari, volunteer, welcome home
With God on my side and Jesus in my cupholder, Ace and I passed through the Texas panhandle Wednesday, revisiting the site where, 18 years ago, almost to the day, I nearly got myself killed.
This time around, the roads weren’t icy, there was no snow; only vicious winds that tried to blow me off the road.
Just to be extra safe — well before my dreaded approach to the tiny town of Groom — I stopped to fill my thermos with coffee at the Jesus Christ is Lord Travel Center, on the east side of Amarillo.
It was opened less than two years ago by Sam Kohli, who also runs a Jesus Christ is Lord trucking line, whose 100-plus trucks are all emblazoned with that phrase.
“He just felt there were a lot of people who didn’t know Jesus Christ is Lord,” the woman at the cash register explained to me, charging me a mere $1.18 to fill my thermos and wishing me safe travels.
In 1993, returning to Philadelphia after a three-year assignment in California, my Isuzu Trooper slid off icy I-40, turning over twice before coming to rest, right side up, at the bottom of an embankment.
Anyway, back 18 years ago, I managed to restart the crumpled vehicle and drive half a mile to the nearest motel, where I checked in, along with my dog at the time, a mutt named Hobo.
As I stood in the lobby, trying to contact my insurance company on the pay phone, the desk clerk kept pointing me out to new arrivals, and each time he told the story he added one more roll: “That’s him over there, rolled over four times, he’s lucky to be alive.”
For the next three days, the dog and I licked our wounds and waited for the motel owners to come through with a ride they promised to the Amarillo airport, where I could rent a car for the rest of the trip. The Isuzu was totaled, and I’d been ticketed for reckless driving, though I was driving slower than anyone else on the road.
I kept waiting for our ride to the airport, and I started fearing there was a conspiracy to make me a permanent resident of the town of 500. Groom, coincidentally, is where much of the filming was done for the 1992 movie “Leap of Faith,” about a faith healer who bilks believers out of their money.
Finally, on day four — my room bill rising, my faith waning – I left the dog in the room, walked to a truck stop (it’s gone now, burned down, they say) and hitched a ride on a chicken truck to the Amarillo airport to get a rental car. Then I went back to the motel, picked Hobo up and drove on.
Back to the present: My original plan was to avoid Groom, on this trip and for eternity, but Wednesday, on a route that was sending me right past it, I decided to confront my fears.
The first Groom exit is the site of what bills itself as the largest cross in America.
It’s made of steel, 19 stories tall, with a cross arm that spans 110 feet. It took 250 welders eight months to complete, and weighs 1,250 tons. The man behind it is Steve Thomas, who was disgusted with billboards advertising “pornographic” services and decided to send travelers a different message.
It wasn’t there on my earlier trip — not being finished until two years later — so it took me by surprise. At first I thought that America’s largest cross (Effingham, Illinois, claims it has one eight feet taller) had been built at the precise spot of my accident.
I realized later, though, that the spot where I almost met my maker was a mile ahead, at the next exit.
Rather than get back on I-40, I took the back route, turning left on Route 66, driving through town, and approaching the scene of the accident from a side road.
I parked on the side of the road and left Ace in the car — not wanting him anywhere near the Interstate, or the accursed spot. I did grab my camera and pulled Bobblehead Jesus (B. Jesus, for short) from the cupholder so that he could accompany me.
I felt chills as I gazed at the spot, though maybe that was from the 60 mile per hour winds.
Feeling I had successfully confronted my fears — that I had found closure (not that I’m a big fan of closure; it’s so … final) — I went off in search of the motel that held me hostage.
Next door, I stopped in at a restaurant called The Grill, asking what happened to the motel. The owner told me that what used to be called the Golden Spread Motel stopped being a motel about 15 years ago, changed hands a few times and ended up as a storage facility.
I told her Golden Spread sounded like something you’d put on a sandwich — or maybe a pornographic term describing some act with which I’m not familiar.
I stepped back outside, into the wind, and thought about the gigantic, non-pornographic cross, which, without any guy wires, can withstand gusts of up to 140 miles per hour. In the car, I gave B. Jesus a pat, sending his head to bobbing. Then I gave Ace one.
I was still a little sour on Groom, but I felt a vague sense of gratitude, and gave God that conditional nod I’m prone to giving him or her: I’m not sure I believe in you, but if you’re the reason Hobo and I survived that accident, thanks so much for the ensuing 18 years (in Hobo’s case, about four).
By then I was back on I-40, traveling eastbound, buffeted by winds, bolstered by Jesus Christ is Lord coffee, strengthened by having confronted my demons, and inspired by a giant cross.
Ace looked around, as if confused: What were all those stops about? I’m not sure I know. I get overwhelmed when I start thinking about God and the hereafter. I have enough trouble handling the here and now.
But this much I know I do have: A deep and abiding faith in dog.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 31st, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, amarillo, america, animals, bobblehead jesus, car, church, crash, cross, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, faith, god, god's country, golden spread, groom, hobo, ice, jesus, jesus christ, jesus christ is lord, largest, leap of faith, lord, pets, religion, road trip, route 66, texas, texasm panhandle, travel center, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, truck stop, trucks