TAYLORSVILLE — The Utah Highway Patrol briefly shut down I-215 late Sunday night in order to rescue a scared dog who escaped from a group trying to find her a home.
CAWS, the Community Animal Welfare Society, routinely accepts dogs from out-of-state shelters to prevent their euthanization. Animals are then placed with “foster” families rather than a traditional shelter until their forever families adopt them.
Sunday night, volunteers from CAWS met a group of 68 dogs from high-kill shelters in New Mexico and Juarez, Mexico at VCA All Pet Animal Hospital in Taylorsville.
“You have to remember these dogs are super scared,” said Sara Buyers, a CAWS volunteer.
That was evidently true for a female chihuahua mix, named Baby Girl, who managed to slip away from the volunteers and started running. Within minutes, she had made it out of the clinic’s parking lot and onto the onramp to I-215 and 4700 South.
“Once she started running, she was dead set on getting out of here,” Buyers said.
Concerned drivers started calling UHP right away, concerned about the pup’s welfare with the icy roads, falling snow and cold temperatures.
Troopers performed a “slowdown,” weaving in front of drivers with lights on to force traffic to slow. Sergeant Mary Kaye Lucas said it didn’t take long to find Baby Girl and corner her near a sound wall. But she still didn’t want anything to do with her rescuers.
“Poor dog. I think she was exhausted and scared by the time we got to her,” Lucas said. “I could tell once they got her out, she was going to be a handful.”
That’s when Lucas drove the wrong way on the freeway to assist the other troopers.
Lucas had a wool blanket and a leash in her cruiser – and that seemed to make the difference.
“I kind of scooped her up with the blanket and she calmed right down,” Lucas said.
Dashcam video from Lucas’s cruiser shows her carrying the little dog, wrapped in the wool blanket, back to her car.
Volunteers with CAWS were relieved.
“I honestly thought when she pulled [up] that she was bringing her as a dead dog that they had pulled off the freeway,” Buyers said.
What troopers had done to save Baby Girl, Buyers said, was “above and beyond in our opinion.”
CAWS is still working to find the pooch a permanent home, but they’re pretty sure they’re not going to stick with Baby Girl for her name.
“Freeway,” Buyers suggested. “Or possibly Bolt.”
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