When Lisa Hawkins set out for Calgary with her best friend and the friend’s 4- and 6-year-old daughters, all they had in mind was a holiday visit with Hawkins’s family. Instead, the trip ended in tragedy and in one small miracle.
The drive went smoothly from Burnaby, where the friend lived, to Merritt, where Hawkins makes her home. So did the stretch from Merritt to Calgary. Hawkins brought along Toffee, her year-old pit bull-Rottweiler cross, for the trip across B.C.’s southern interior and on into Alberta.
Unfortunately, Toffee turned out to be a headache for the Calgary relatives. So Hawkins’s best friend offered to leave early and drive Toffee back home. She and her two young daughters set out in their SUV on December 21st. They never reached home.
Near the summit of Rogers Pass, a mountainous stretch of B.C. highway, their SUV crossed the line and collided with a tractor trailer. The 36-year-old driver and her two daughters were killed instantly.
When police searched the scene, they found no sign of Toffee. Lisa Hawkins had a sense she might have been thrown clear and could still be alive. On Boxing Day she and her husband Steve drove to the site of the crash. Hawkins told the CBC:
My husband and I just called and shouted her name … and there she was. She popped her little head up on a snow bank, and I went running to her, definitely with tears in my eyes.
Toffee had survived both the crash and five cold, snowy days on a mountain pass. She was cold and hungry, but she was alive and healthy.
Ironically, Toffee had been the deceased woman’s dog before she was adopted by Lisa Hawkins. Finding the dog can never make up for the loss of her best friend and the two little girls, but Hawkins said in the CBC interview:
“With everything that has happened, Toffee is now more of a blessing to our family.”
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Photo of Toffee provided to media by Lisa Hawkins