Lexi was found by ADOT employees and later reunited with her owners.WARNING: If you’re a dog-owner, the following story may trigger strong reactions, including the urge to give your own pup some extra attention (and possibly a special treat or two)!
The highway is normally just about the worst place for a dog
to be out on its own…
But for one lost German Shepherd mix named Lexi, the highway is where she found relief after crossing paths (literally) with two ADOT employees who helped her get home.
It all started earlier this month as Steve Maynard and AJ Gonzalez were traveling west along SR 260 toward Payson. They work in ADOT’s Materials section and drive all over Arizona to measure the smoothness of road surfaces (they do this in a van that’s equipped with a sophisticated instrument called a profilometer – we’ll have a blog post about it coming your way soon).
On Jan. 9, the two were headed to their home office in Phoenix when they saw a stray dog wandering on an overpass. They observed a close call as the dog almost was hit by a truck in front of them.
That’s when they turned on their vehicle emergency lights and stopped to try and assist the animal.
Reluctant at first, the dog eventually came over to the ADOT employees. Gonzalez says she looked malnourished and exhausted.
“You could tell when you picked her up, she was achy,” he said.
With Lexi resting comfortably in the back of the ADOT van, Maynard and Gonzalez headed to the ADOT maintenance yard in Payson, where they gave her some water and food they picked up from a nearby pet store. She was hungry, but they were careful not to overfeed.
Luckily, Lexi had a collar with tags that indicated she was registered in Pima County. Through a bit of research and help from the Pima Animal Care Center, Maynard was able to contact the owners in Tucson to let them know their dog had been found.
“The owners were so happy,” said Maynard. “They had pretty much given up hope of finding her, so to call and let them know their dog was alive was a great feeling.”
It turns out that Lexi had been lost since Christmas day – she escaped from a place her owners were renting for the holidays along the Mogollon Rim. Amazingly, Maynard and Gonzalez found her two weeks later, roughly 10 miles from where she went missing.
After contacting the owners, Maynard took Lexi to his house in the Phoenix area where family members of the owners were able to pick her up.
“Words cannot express how glad we were to receive that call,” said Michael Bauschka, Lexi’s owner. “We are so appreciative that they went out of their way to rescue our dog.” Just a reminder…
Drivers who see a dog (or any other type of animal) on the highway are urged to call 911. Motorists should NOT get out of their vehicles and attempt to capture the animal – that could pose a danger to themselves and other drivers.
The ADOT employees from today’s blog post were able to safely help Lexi because they had a vehicle equipped with emergency lights. Once the lights were on, traffic in the area complied by slowing down, allowing for a safe rescue.
Get more tips about pet and roadway safety by checking out this blog post