Puppy survives crash, returned home | VailDaily.com

Puppy survives crash, returned home

Christine Ina Casillas Daily Staff Writer
Photo courtesy of Eagle River Fire Protection DistA yellow Labrador was found huddling next to this fence along Miller Ranch Road in Edwards after his owner was in a car crash on Interstate 70.

What could have been a tragic episode Monday turned into fairy tale farewell for a woman involved in a car crash and her Labrador retriever.

Around midnight, a car rolled over in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 near mile marker 164 in Edwards. Firefighters with the Eagle River Fire Protection District found a car upside-down the eastbound lanes. The driver was trapped inside.

Because of extensive damage to the car, the woman had to be cut out of the driver’s seat. She was immobilized and transported to Vail Valley Medical Center, where she was treated for serious injuries.

“It was a serious accident,” said Kathy Warren, spokeswoman for the Eagle River Fire Protection District. “She very well could still be in the hospital because of it.”

But while she was being cut from the car, she insisted there was someone else in the car and asked firefighters to find them, Warren said.

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Firefighters searched both sides of the interstate for the other passenger, walking several hundred yards in each direction in search of the other party. After about a half an hour, the search was called off.

“Our guys were looking for a person,” Warren said. “He kept saying there was another person in the car with him. People call their dogs people. They are a member of the family.”

A new crew arrived around 7 a.m. and were briefed about the accident, Warren said. Soon after, the Vail Communications Center received a call from the woman’s “boyfriend or husband” requesting help finding a dog that was involved in an early morning rollover crash, Warren said.

The firefighters decided to search for the missing yellow Labrador, Warren said.

“We took a chance that he might still be out there, and it was worth trying to find him if he was hurt,” Lt. George Wilson said.

“When they found him, he was a huddled mass against the fences,” Warren said.

The young pup was found curled next to a wire fence along the eastbound lanes of I-70 across Miller Ranch Road from Berry Creek Middle School, Wilson said.

“They could tell he was in pain,” Warren said.

The puppy was either thrown from the car during the accident or jumped out after the car stopped moving, Warren said.

“The pup had a hip injury,” Warren said. “He was pretty roughed up, the poor little guy. Sometimes, when animals are hurt, they are pretty defensive, but he was so thankful. He looked like, “Oh, somebody finally came to get me.'”

Firefighters wrapped the pup with blankets to warm him, and the owner was notified.

Because the owner lived an hour-and-a-half-away, Eagle County Animal Control picked the puppy up and took him back to the animal shelter until the woman’s partner could get him.

“Eagle County is huge on saving animals,” Warren said. “The pup is back in his owner’s home, probably wagging his tail and nursing a hurt, little hip.”

Christine Ina Casillas can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or at ccasillas@vaildaily.com.

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