Stories about "miracle" animal rescues always intrigue me. The following account is of particular interest because I had a remote connection to the events that transpired.
Last Dec. 19 my husband and I started driving to Minnesota for a holiday visit with our children and grandchildren. Because of warnings about blizzard conditions, we ended up spending the 19th and 20th at a motel in Clear Lake, Iowa, before it was safe to drive further north.
On Dec. 20, another family, Cody and Colby Bostick, from that same city, Clear Lake, set out to drive south to Texas for the holidays with their families. Their 1-year-old son, Easton, and Jackie, their 2-year-old pet Jack Russell Terrier mix, were with them. Weather and travel predictions were dire but they thought that interstate I-35 would be clear and they could proceed slowly.
Unfortunately, as they went further south, they encountered blizzard conditions with heavy blowing snow creating a whiteout. There was a massive 30-car pile-up and the Bosticks were hit from behind and spun around, sliding under a tractor-trailer. Mrs. Bostick was severely injured and did not survive. The husband and child were OK. Jackie, their dog, was lost in the chaos after the accident and friends and relatives from the area started searching but did not immediately find her.
Meanwhile, Cody Bostick went to Texas to be with family. He desperately hoped that Jackie would be found…at least that would bring a little comfort after the tragic loss of his wife.
Jackie appeared about a week later, on the day before Christmas. A traveler on I-35 near Ames, Iowa, noticed the dog dodging highway traffic at 4 a.m. She was uninjured. This devoted pet had somehow managed to survive bitter cold conditions during that week. She apparently stayed near the interstate within 40 miles of where the accident occurred. It took another week to discover that the dog was the missing pet that everyone had been looking for.
Bostick identified Jackie through a cell phone picture and some unique characteristics that only he would know about. One of them was Jackie's ears where one would stick up and the other flops over.
Plans were made to get Jackie back to her owner in Texas. A rescue organization, "Bailing Out Benji," volunteered to help with the logistics of transporting Jackie. There is a huge network of animal rescuers who regularly work together to transport animals. An area "transport coordinator," Sheri Jackson, mapped out a route that involved the use of 12 volunteers from five states who would each drive a 60-90 mile leg of the trip to turn her over to the next driver. She was able to select from over 70 emails from people all over the country wishing to help. If the timing had been different, my husband and I would have driven Jackie all the way to Kansas City on our return trip.
Page 2 of 2 - Last weekend the transport occurred without a hitch. Jackie spent Saturday night at Winding Rivers Kennel in Kansas City. She rejoined Cody and Easton Sunday afternoon after a woman from Oklahoma City drove the last leg. It was an emotional reunion. There is a photo accompanying a news article that shows, Jackie licking Easton's face while Cody has his arm protectively around the dog.
Cody Bostick expressed gratitude to those who got the word out about his lost pet and to all the volunteers who helped bring his family back together again. He is filled with joy that his little 20-pound dog survived.
"It's just an amazing story of survival in that kind of weather that she's never been in and it gives me comfort that Colby is looking out for us," he said. "We have Jackie back, it was a great reunion, Easton went crazy, that was fun to watch…"
Anne Divine is a long time member of LAWS and has volunteered at Animal Control for 18 years. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.