Retired Police Officer Locates Missing German Shepherd After Deadly Crash

Eric and Mary VonCanon were taking a detour around the scene of a deadly accident on I-95 in Virginia when they noticed something peculiar on the side of the road. The couple did not see the wreckage or damaged tires, but instead noticed a German Shepherd sleeping on the grass on the side of the highway with a collar and leash.

She was flung from one of the automobiles during the incident and became lost. Fortunately, Eric VonCanon, a retired police officer with two German shepherds of his own, happened to be passing by at the precise time to notice her. “I noticed she had a collar, tags dangling, and a leash right away,” Eric VonCanon told iHeartDogs. “This was not a stray dog that had been abandoned. I grabbed the leash and shouted, 'Come on,' and she was limping. However, she had those appreciating eyes.”

VonCanon and his wife took the dog to the Brook Run Animal Clinic in Richmond for medical assistance. After examining at her tags, they discovered her name was Gemma. Gemma's owner, it turns out, survived the collision and was brought to the hospital. Family members had been phoning local veterinarian offices to see if the dog had been taken in. VonCanon was able to contact Gemma's mother and tell her that her dog was safe, much to her relief.

“The girl texted me and expressed her gratitude,” VonCanon said. “She told me that even as they were attempting to get her out of the car, all she could do was yell about her puppy. She now knows she has her dog and that everyone on her mother's side of the family is fine.” Despite a few scratches, Gemma was unharmed by the mishap. Unfortunately, four people were killed in one of the automobiles involved in the Wednesday early incident. Von Cannon wanted to emphasize that his discovery of Gemma should not conceal the tragic side of this disaster.

“I can't emphasize enough how taking a dog off the freeway is nothing compared to what the families involved in that accident and the policemen who responded to it went through,” VonCanon added. “But, in the end, hearing that this kid was going to get her puppy back was incredibly satisfying.” They will be reunited shortly, even if Gemma's owner is still in the hospital healing from her injuries. VonCanon, who used to work with the dog during the army, is grateful that he was in the right place at the right time.

“One thing I don't understand is how that dog sat there for four hours and no one came to get her,” he said. “You see all kinds of things on the side of the road; you see tires, you see bumpers, but you don't see a lovely black and tan shepherd. We are extremely grateful that we were able to assist.”

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