A nine-month old puppy survived two weeks alone in the wilderness, after fleeing his owner's SUV once it crashed. Henrico mom and Polished Nail Lounge owner Tina Caton, and her two children and niece, survived a horrific car accident unhurt. Rainy weather caused their SUV to flip on Interstate 64 on October 8, rolling into a ravine.
"When people say life flashes before your eyes, that's what happened. I was very scared," said Caton.
No one was seriously hurt. However, the family's puppy, "Champ," fled the crash scene, frightened. The family believes he made his way out of the shattered sunroof.
The search for Champ ensued. Twice a day, nearly early every day, Caton says she went back to the accident spot, searching the road and woods where the car flipped. The family posted flyers, hoping someone might spot the tiny, black and white shih tzu.
"It was really sad and terrifying. I just wanted to hold him again," said 13-year-old Brittany Cong, Caton's niece, of her favorite pet.
Caton says numerous people called reporting they spotted the tiny dog.
"They said he was sitting right on the median, where the accident happened. He just sat there wagging his tail, waiting," described Caton.
As the days past, any hope of finding Champ seemed to diminish. However, on Sunday, Champ lived up to his name.
Caton and her husband caught a glimpse of the puppy near that same spot, as they drove to the area, yet again. They chased after Champ, and finally caught up to him. Caton says tears streamed down her face, and Champ's, as she held him close. "I saw tears coming out of his eyes. I wiped them and said, ‘It's okay. Mommy got you, and I'm not going to let go anymore.'"
Brittany Cong says she was elated to see her puppy when her aunt and uncle picked her up. Champ was in the car. "I saw him in there, and I just started screaming his name, and it was just a happy moment for me. They found him."
Champ is delighted to be back snuggling in his mommy's arms, and stealing all the attention from his three favorite little girls. He spends his days at Caton's salon, greeting customers and keeping them company as they get their nails done. He's quite the attraction, according to patrons at the salon, who were happy to see Champ again.
Caton says Champ was in his carrier during the car ride, but he started to fidget. That's when they took him out. It was just minutes later, when the vehicle crashed. Caton says she'll never let Champ out of the carrier again.
Copyright 2012 wwbt nbc12. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics