Chad Smith choked up as he talked about his dog Marley who went missing after a motor vehicle accident south of Penticton on Wednesday.
“I don’t know if I am about to cry that we found our dog or if it is all the outreach we received from the community. We are touched so deeply and send our love to everyone who helped,” said Smith, who is from Coquitlam.
Just like her owners, Marley, a one-year old red nose pit bull, was shaken after they were involved in an accident around 1 p.m. that closed Highway 97 and sent four people to hospital.
RCMP said a Honda Civic attempted to conduct a U-turn and the Toyota Tacoma that Marley and her owners were driving hit the Civic.
Related: Dog missing after HWY. 97 collision
“My mom just bought a house in the Okanagan and we were on our way home when we got in the MVA. I got out of the car to help my mom and girlfriend and Marley ran off. She took off out of shock, I couldn’t believe it,” said Smith.
It is what followed that was even more of jolt to Smith. An outpouring of assistance from strangers was offered to help track down his best friend.
“I had at least half a dozen phone calls and people who met me and brought their dogs to look for Marley. So many people went out of their way to help,” said Smith, who thanked them, the RCMP and everyone who helped.
However, the search turned up empty-handed and Marley was spending the night on her own. That is, until she appeared on Thursday afternoon not far from where the crash took place. Still dealing with some injuries, Smith and his girlfriend (Behind Jahani) were in the hospital when his mom went and retrieved her. It was an Argo driver that first saw her just 20 to 50 metres from the crash site. A few other people had pulled over when they recognized the dog, whose photo made its rounds on social media, and waited until Marley could be picked up.
Smith said it was instant relief, especially when he first laid eyes on her.
“Marley was crying and whining. We bought her a bunch of toys and treats and as soon as that car door opened I don’t know who smothered who, but there was hugs and kisses going both ways,” said Smith.
Marley was warming up her owner’s laps and headed to the vet on Thursday afternoon with a few scratches and some missing nails after a long, cold night alone.
Although only together for less than a year, the pair’s bond is deep. Smith said he rescued Marley from a bad situation.
“I took her out of a home that was so disgusting that I didn’t want to take my shoes off. The dogs were being mistreated. I looked for the sickest one and took her to get her shots and called the SPCA to save the rest of the dogs,” said Smith.
It was love at first sight.
“The way she looked at us, I knew right away,” said Smith getting choked up again. “She has these white spots on her chest that look like wings, almost like an angel was sent to us. I think sometimes she helps me more than I help her. She is like a person inside a dog, she shows emotions and knows how to read people,” said Smith.