January 9, 2013

Two selfless acts on a Pennsylvania highway lead to two very different outcomes; one tragic, one joyful. The story begins with the tragedy. It happened on December 26 on an icy stretch of Interstate 78. A Florida handyman was driving cautiously down the highway with his dog in the seat next to him. He saw a motorist spin out, and the man got out of his car to give the other driver a hand. Seconds later, another car spun out, hit the handyman, and killed him. In the confusion and investigation of the accident, the dog was left on the side of the highway, a thousand miles from home and without the caring owner he had known for the past 12 years.

The black Labrador retriever, named Rancid after a punk rock band, was found alone in his master’s car by a tow truck driver who came to haul away the wreckage. The driver took Rancid home and says he would have kept him had the owner’s family not been located back in Florida. Rancid, meanwhile, waited patiently for eight days for his master to return. Another dog lover decided it was time to take Rancid back to his home in Hollywood, Florida, so she volunteered to make the 21 hour drive. Well-wishers made contributions to help pay for the gas.

The woman says she was about two miles from her destination when Rancid started whining and turning around in his seat, sensing that home was nearby. When they pulled up, the handyman’s wife of 30 years and his two grown daughters wrapped their arms around the overjoyed dog. One daughter said having Rancid back made her “feel better,” and getting their pet back was “what my dad would have wanted more than anything.”

The handyman found Rancid in an abandoned Fort Worth, Texas apartment building where his previous owner left him behind. The two traveled to jobs up and down the Eastern Seaboard, inseparable since they met back in 2000. As for the kind woman who drove all that way to reunite dog and family, she told a reporter, “God told me this was something I had to do.”

Source: Sun Sentinel, “Dog relies on kind strangers to get home,” Susannah Bryan, Jan. 8, 2013