A Phoenix, Ariz., police officer is being hailed a hero today after reuniting a family with their long lost dog.
Buddy, a one-eyed black-and-white Pekingese mix, disappeared from Jessica Rowe’s home nearly two years ago. The little pup became spooked as a large storm blew into the area in May 2011. Buddy escaped Rowe’s home and yard, and there had been no signs of the little pooch since.
“We had a monsoon in Mesa and it flew open my townhome gate while we were at work and Buddy ran away,” Rowe explains.
Desperate to find Buddy, Rowe and her family spent months searching for their missing dog, posting flyers, calling shelters and canvassing the neighborhood — anything to potentially bring Buddy home again. But as the months dragged on with no leads, the family started to lose hope that they’d ever see Buddy again. Rowe tells AZFamily.com losing Buddy was devastating for her young daughter.
“My daughter, [who was 3 at the time] is like a social butterfly to humans and animals,” Rowe explains, “and so it was really detrimental, almost like losing a sibling, for her; she cried a lot.”
Fast-forward nearly two years later to March 1, 2013. Officer Don Martin and another patrol officer with the Phoenix Police Department were driving their normal beat when suddenly, Officer Martin spotted something black-and-white darting into the street.
“Just as I passed the dog, he ran out into the roadway,” Officer Martin tells KDSK 5 News. “Honestly, I thought the dog was not going to survive,” he admits.
But as Officer Martin stopped the cruiser, he heard a “thunk” against the car door.
“That’s when I heard this really horrible sound as if a large stone or some object hit the driver side of my patrol vehicle,” Martin says, “looked out the rear view and saw the dog down on the road.”
Officer Martin jumped out of the car and ran to the dog’s side. He and the other patrol officer wrapped the little black-and-white pooch up and rushed him to the nearby Alta Vista Veterinary Hospital, where veterinarians examined Buddy.
During their initial check up, they discovered a microchip — that’s what led Officer Martin to Jessica Rowe. Rowe could hardly believe what she was hearing when she picked up her phone that day.
“My heart was racing,” describes Rowe, “and I just described him and they said that it’s Buddy.
”When Rowe arrived at the veterinary hospital to reunite with Buddy, she was told she didn’t owe a cent for Buddy’s treatment, that Officer Martin had taken care of everything.
“They’re awesome,” Rowe told KPHO CBS 5 News of the kind officer who not only rescued Buddy but paid his vet bill. “They have gone above and beyond what they had to.”
Officer Martin is happy to have played a part in bringing Buddy and his family back together.
“Dirty little secret, we all like being police officers because of moments like this [that] make a difference,” Martin said during the touching reunion, “this is what you live for.”