Dec 19, 2011. My friend Trudi and I headed to Phoenix to look at horses at Turf Paradise. She was shopping, I was along for the adventure. We flew up I-10 in Trudi’s little Buick, headed north on 1-17. Clear, sunny day. No traffic.
Then we got to a car clot just before the McDowell Road on ramp. I looked ahead for swirling cop lights, EMTs, fire engines.
“Oh my God. It’s a DOG!” A small white figure raced across the highway in a pink coat, zigzagged, ran back, spun frantically.
“She’ll be killed!” Trudi said. Without any hesitation, she turned the car sideways to block traffic across two lanes. I jumped out as the little dog tried to climb the wall to the over pass. She fell back, turned desperately around. I knelt, opened my arms and called “Here, dog!”
She raced toward me, leapt, and hurled herself against my chest.
I stood with her clasped to me, waved a vague thank you to the cars that Trudi had blocked that hadn’t honked, and turned back to our car. A policeman stood beside his vehicle which blocked the lane Trudi hadn’t been able to, and Trudi stood beside hers.
“I told him you were good with animals,” she said.
“How did your dog get out onto the road?” he demanded, looking at the traffic as it piled up south of us, blocked by her car, then his.
“Not my dog. She was running on the highway. Someone was going to hit her or swerve into someone else. We stopped to prevent a wreck,” I said virtuously. I didn’t tell him how awed I was by Trudi’s deft polo-player maneuver, her spontaneous decision to risk being broadsided by hundreds of northbound vehicles traveling at 75 miles an hour, to save a badly dressed terrier.
I looked at the trembling dog’s ill-fitting pink rayon jacket. “She must have an owner, officer.”
“I’ll take her and try to find her people. Just put her in the cruiser, okay?” He opened the door.
In the police car’s back seat, behind a metal grill, sat a man with his hands cuffed behind him. He smiled and tried to reach toward the little dog. The policeman grabbed my shoulder and pulled me back.
“I forgot about him” he said. “I can’t take her.”
“We will! We’ll take her to a vet and see if she’s microchipped and search for her owner and if she doesn’t have one, we’ll keep her. Okay?”