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Tale of Travel Terror + a Happy Ending!


Pat Shepard with her Kerry Roxy in Happy Times

This is a story about our female Kerry, Roxy, who was 3.5 years old at the time it all happened. I have delayed writing this for over a year but I believe it is time and that it will be of interest to the Kerry Community. Also I owe a very, very big thank you to the Kerry author of an article I read on this site at least 4-5 years ago. Subject of that article was to keep on hand a good picture to use as a poster in case your Kerry was ever lost.

A quick introduction of ourselves: Bob and I moved to St. George UT after retiring from life in the LA area. Roxy, the second Kerry Blue in our lives, is the whole focus of our little family here. We are outdoor people who hike, camp and ride four wheelers in the mountains. Yes, Roxy rides with us and loves it. She is just never left at home. I think Bob and I have bonded with our beloved Roxy more than any other dog in our 50+ years of marriage.

What happened and where? In a nutshell our SUV rolled over three times, skidded twenty feet on its roof, and came to a halt on a sandy shoulder of the busy North/South HWY 89 in Utah. This was just south of the turnoff to Bryce Canyon National Park and some three miles north of the very small town of Hatch.

The car was totaled and all windows blown out. We - my husband, myself, and close friends visiting from another state - were all hanging by our seat belts. Our Roxy, who had been riding in the rear seat, was not in the car. We had taken her leash and collar off for the ride home from Bryce. Yes, her collar had up to date information and telephone numbers on it.

EMTs, paramedics, and ambulances arrived, gave trauma care and transported us all to the nearest hospital in Panquitch, UT. Needless to say all I could do was ask about Roxy. A highway patrolman said he thought he had seen her running up the highway. My prayers were answered that she was alive.

Our friends were air lifted to Salt Lake City for minor surgery. Bob and I were x-rayed and stitched and released to a friend who had made the trip from St. George to pickus up. The accident happened about 4:00 p.m. and we started the two plus hour trip back home about 1:30 am-still no word about Roxy. At that point we were more worried about her than ourselves-her physical condition, the heavy truck traffic on the two-lane highway, and the coyotes and cougars in the area.

Our 47-year-old son and wife (RN) arrived in St. George from the LA area with their Labrador retriever about 11:00 am that morning. We made a poster out of the Roxy picture I had kept on hand and had 50 colored copies made.

A quick trip to the doctor for a dressing change, new eye glasses made in an hour, new cell phone purchased, clothes packed and we were all back at the accident site by 4:00 p.m., just 24 hours after the accident. We put up posters at the Hatch Post Office and all over the town. We went door to door in the residential area with inquires. The Hatch population is under 300.

The next day we began getting cell phone calls of "Roxy Sightings." Every call was basically the same: They had seen her, called to her and at that point she took off on a dead run. We knew how traumatized she must have been as she is very much a people dog.

In fact our son spied her on that busy highway and pulled alongside and called her name. She even took off for the hills from him. Yes, we had thoughts that if she'd had the collar on could she have been caught? Seriously doubt it though as she was not allowing anyone to get within 20 feet of her.

Slowly over the next few days a pattern emerged from the 4-5 daily sightings and we realized she was going back and forth from town to the accident site. We had anchored articles of our clothes with rocks at the site. One caller told us she had spent that night under a trailer. Another night she slept in a sheep pen with the farmers' sheep. And one night she shared the front porch of a home with the owner's cat! She was somewhat presenting herself to people but still took off running if they called her name or at tempted to get close. So very traumatized! We felt so thankful the people of Hatch were responding to the poster of Roxy.

Having a RN with us took care of our medical needs and even though we were unable to drive Bob and I could sure shout ROXY at the top of our voices. Our kids took their male dog, and had him pee on every bush, tree and post in the town so hoping Roxy would recognize the scent.

The people who live in Hatch were so caring. They left out food for Roxy and even helped search themselves on ATVs and in pickups.

After four extremely worrisome days and nights it was a Sunday morning (in fact Mother's Day) when "the call" came through. The caller said he had left his wife by the side of the highway to watch the area where the couple had spied Roxy from their car. He had driven into the post office to get our cell number. We drove out and the lady said yes, she was sure Roxy was down in a ditch hidden in thick brush.

I elected to scramble down alone with my heart thudding and softly called her name. The bush wiggled. I called again 'Roxie Girl" and out popped that treasured little black head. The tears streamed as she leapt into my arms.

End of story except to report on her physical condition. First of all we were happy that Roxy showed no reluctance to ride in the car and behaved as if nothing had happened. Obviously her trauma was over and we believe that she never re ally knew what had happened. Our vet thoroughly examined her and had x-rays taken to be sure of no organ damage.

He did find the tip of her right front canine was missing. We have come to the conclusion that happened in the roll over. Anyway, off to the Doggy Dentist and he did a root canal to save the tooth.

We are so thankful that Kerrie's are as smart as they are. The fact she chose to stay safe in the town at night is amazing. And we will always be indebted to the people of Hatch, UT who responded to the poster in the caring way they did. Needless to say an ID collar isnow always on in the car.

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