If you were online over the weekend, surely you saw this photo. A small, cowering chihuahua was perched precariously on a concrete highway divider while a police officer tried to lure her into his arms. At rush hour on Friday night, this was a dangerous situation.
California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Alex Edmon is the man in that photo. CHP responded to drivers’ calls reporting a chihuahua running around in traffic on northbound I-680 near Walnut Creek, Calif.
Somehow, by the time Edmon and his partner arrived, the dog was on top of the concrete center divider, with traffic rocketing by on either side. She was petrified with fear.
“We attempted to coax it, we could tell it was very frightened,” Edmon told NBC BayArea. “It was shaking — we were able to pet it a little bit, but other than that we could tell it was not happy.”
Edmon tried to encourage the dog to come to him with trail mix, but she was having none of that. Eventually, bits of a protein bar did the trick.
Edmon couldn’t transport the little dog on his motorcycle, so he and his partner called local animal control to the scene. They took the frightened two-year-old female to Contra Costa Animal Services in Martinez, Calif. She was not injured and had no collar, tags or microchip.
Watch a news report from KRON TV about this rescue here:
Social Media Sends Big Love to CHP
The online frenzy began after CHP tweeted a photo of the rescue on Friday evening. They said, “This little dog needed some help off I-680 freeway today. We’re glad he’s safe. #CHP #Safe #Dog #DogTreats.” It didn’t take long for the entire Internet to snap to attention and fall in love with the dog, nicknamed “Freeway.”
So far, Twitter users have retweeted the rescue photo almost 1,000 times. Many social media users tweeted their appreciation to CHP for ensuring this innocent little sweetheart got to safety.
No one knows how Freeway got onto that concrete divider. Surely she didn’t jump up there herself. So far, though, no one has come forward with information.
“As of right now there are no witnesses that actually saw someone take the dog out of a car and leave it there,” Edmon told NBC BayArea.
Sadly, this sort of highway median abandonment happens all the time to countless dogs and cats. CHP will respond to save any animals reported on the road, but often they can’t get there in time.
“They don’t always have a fighting chance,” CHP officer John Fransen told the Los Angeles Times.
Update: Little Freeway is Fine and Almost Ready to Go Home
Over the weekend, staffers at Contra Costa Animal Services spent some time with Freeway. According to their Facebook page:
She was obviously very scared because of her ordeal, but is starting to relax and come out of her shell. Today on Mother’s [D]ay, two of our wonderful kennel technicians spent their lunch socializing her and helping her overcome her fear.
The photos below show a decidedly happier dog than she was on Friday afternoon:
“I would try to encourage everybody to try and rescue any dog they can,” Edmon told NBC BayArea. “Animal control has already been inundated with calls for this particular dog because of the story, but don’t be discouraged if you can’t get this exact dog, look for other dogs out there.”
Thanks to an eagle-eyed CHP officer, little Freeway made it through this ordeal in one piece. She can look forward to a happy new forever home, courtesy of the caring commuters who called to notify CHP and the motorcycle officers who responded and rescued her.
Yes, there are good people in the world and they deserve their moment of social media applause. Hats off to Freeway’s heroes — the dog-loving officers of the CHP.
Photo credit: Contra Costa CHP/Twitter