Dog survives porcupine visit, freeway adventure, is reunited with owner

A much needed human kindness story.....


November 18, 2004

Man’s best friend made a valuable friend of his own last Sunday.

After a painful disagreement with a porcupine scared a mixed-breed Australian shepherd into the middle of Interstate 5, a passing motorist sprang to the dog’s rescue.

Gary Lewis, 64, was headed into Roseburg from his home in Sutherlin when he spotted the pup - its snout covered in quills - trapped against the median around 3 p.m.

“His face was just covered with them, and he was just looking for a friend and some help,” Lewis said.

Although traffic was heavy, Lewis pulled his pickup over to the side of the road to see what he could do.

Two quick-thinking motorists behind him slowed traffic behind them so Lewis could get to the dog. One, a semitruck driver, put on his hazard lights as he braked, while another woman slowed down her car, bringing traffic almost to a dead stop between the two of them.

Although Lewis was afraid the dog might be dangerous in its injured condition, he called out to see if it would come to him. To his delight, the dog came bounding across the freeway.

“He jumped right in my truck, and I took him over to the shelter over there,” Lewis said, referring to the Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center in Winchester.

Lewis said the rescue effort angered at least one interstate traveler, who swore and yelled at the female motorist who helped slow down traffic.

“She didn’t deserve all that abuse,” Lewis said. “I hope she knows that what she did was really appreciated too.”

Lewis concedes it was dangerous to stop freeway traffic like that, and he said he probably would not do it again.

His aunt was not surprised to hear Lewis had gone to that much trouble for the dog. Beryl Shumway, who contacted The News-Review about the incident, said her nephew has made a habit of helping dogs in trouble.

Lewis took in two strays several years ago. One of the dogs was blind and had diabetes, so Lewis administered insulin to it every morning, Shumway said. It eventually had to be euthanized.

“He’s just so tenderhearted for animals,” Shumway said. “He really risked his life to save the dog (on Sunday) because of the traffic ... He just knew if he didn’t get him off that freeway he’d be killed.”

After Lewis brought the dog to the shelter, Saving Grace workers took it to Bailey Veterinary Clinic in Roseburg to have the quills removed.

Lewis said he took out an ad in the newspaper announcing the dog had been found. He also went to visit him at the shelter Tuesday to check on his condition and take him for a walk.

The dog’s owner came to claim him later that day, according to Saving Grace Director Maureen McNulty. She would not reveal the name of the dog’s owner.

“I’ve had dogs all my life, and I have a real soft spot in my heart for them,” Lewis said. “I’m really glad that the owners got him back ‘cause he was really a nice dog.”

Posted by rosevine69 on 11/19 at 08:44 AM in Pet People

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