Dog dragged outside a truck on Vallejo's I-780 saved after brush with death
By Sarah Rohrs
For an animal lover, it was a horrific sight -- a young dog on a rope being dragged on pavement outside a pickup truck barreling down the freeway.
Angie Porter still cries when she talks about it, and her son has nightmares nearly a week after they followed the truck, and then found the dog, since nicknamed Freeway, left for dead on an Interstate 780 off ramp.
It's a morning that neither Porter nor her son will likely forget anytime soon.
Now, they hope for a happy ending to Freeway's story that seemed like it couldn't possibly have one.
A Pinole resident, Porter said she took the I-780 exit toward Benicia off of Interstate 80 at around 7:45 a.m. Thursday and fell behind a black pick-up truck with blackened tinted windows.
Both she and her 13-year-old son River noticed something flapping near the truck. To their horror they quickly realized it was a tethered young dog bouncing against the vehicle and dragging its feet on the pavement.
For nearly a mile, Porter said she and River followed behind the truck. They screamed and she sounded her horn to get the driver to pull over.
"The dog was being strangulated and dragging on the freeway and flopping around on the side of the truck. He seemed to be dying," Porter said.
As the vehicles neared Glen Cove, the truck driver took the exit, perhaps realizing what was happening with the dog, Porter said.
At the same time, the rope around the dog's neck broke. He dropped, flipped several
times and then slammed into the off-ramp's cement wall.
To Porter's amazement, the driver didn't stop, but just slowly drove on.
She ran to the dog, placed her coat over its body and directed River to get her cell phone. Obviously in severe pain, the dog shivered. His legs were twisted and he had road rash all over his body, she said.
She said River was too scared to look, but finally poked his head over her shoulder to see the dog still breathing.
"He was crying and I was telling him it was going to be okay," Porter said.
Then Porter noticed the dog couldn't move, and that he didn't have a leash or collar -- just the rope around his neck.
The owner of several dogs herself, Porter said she was aghast.
A few minutes later, humane society officer Amy Dart arrived and took the dog to All Creatures Veterinary Hospital, said animal services Sgt. Daniel Concepcion.
The agency would like to find the driver, but has no leads, Concepcion said. Porter was so focused on the dog's plight, she did not take down the truck's license plate number, he said.
Freeway didn't die from his injuries, nor was he put down, though he has lost one leg -- his right rear one which sustained a nasty fracture, All Creatures veterinarian Robert Linville said.
The surgery was delayed a few days to ensure the dog, a German shepherd estimated at six months old, was stable and his other three legs were uninjured and could support him, Linville said.
The dog should be ready to be released to the humane society by the end of the week, he said.
Humane society executive director Peter Wilson said the organization will cover the veterinarian bill and put him up for adoption after he recuperates for a few months in a foster home.
At no time did anyone consider euthanizing the dog.
"When I learned how sweet the dog is, even in excruciating pain, I felt this dog deserves a chance and shouldn't suffer and lose its life because of the irresponsible individual who didn't stick around afterwards," Wilson said.
Three-legged dogs, Wilson said, learn to adapt quickly and come to lead normal lives.
The humane society has also started a fundraiser for Freeway through its Maya Fund created to help animals with medical issues.
At Benicia Middle School where Porter works as a campus supervisor and River is enrolled, students and staff also want to help raise money for Freeway.
Donation cans with Freeway's photo will soon likely be set up around campus.
Animal neglect and cruelty aside, Freeway's story should also be a cautionary one about the need to secure dogs properly while traveling with them in pick-up trucks, Wilson said.
He strongly urges dogs be placed in crates secured to the truck bed, or they ride up front in the cab.
Linville said he's treated many dogs not restrained properly in a pick-up truck.
Wilson said he is gratified Porter came to Freeway's rescue and that help is coming in for his recovery.
"We are very fortunate to be in a community of people that will see something like that and do everything they can," Wilson said.
* Those who would like to donate to cover Freeway's medical expenses can visit www.hsnb.org, click on the "Donate" page and then on the "Maya Fund."
* Anyone who has more details on the Thursday incident or the driver who left Freeway on the side of the freeway off-ramp can call animal services at 645-7906.