The dog, a yellow Labrador Retriever mix, was spotted around 8:30 a.m. Friday morning lying down in the Eastex outbound High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) or carpool lane, wounded and barely able to move as the cars whizzed by.
Concerned witnesses contacted Animal Control, who arrived on the scene shortly after. But someone else had gotten to the poor dog first.
Just when it looked like a tragedy was about to unfold in front of thousands of Houston commuters, a Good Samaritan stepped in and tried his hand at luring the dog to safety.
Local contractor Rickey Young was on his way to work when he heard an urgent warning for all Eastex Freeway commuters over the radio.
“They just said caution for a dog in the HOV lane,” Young remembers.
Young was not far from where the dog was stranded. Rather than wait to see if someone else would rescue the dog, Young felt compelled to help if he could.
“I’m just kind of a softy on that stuff,” Young tells KHOU.com. “I have a dog and would hate to see him on a highway like that.”
Moments later, Young spotted the Lab and climbed over the concrete partition to the outbound lane, hoping to get close enough to check on the dog’s condition. Traffic cameras captured Young slowly walking towards the dog, and the skittish dog limping away from him.
At first, Young called to the pup, hoping she would trust him enough to let him guide her from the freeway. But the dog was just too afraid.
Unable to coax the dog to safety on his own, Young quickly ran back to his truck to grab something he knew the dog wouldn’t be able to resist: a tasty sandwich. Within minutes, the dog was tucked safely inside Young’s waiting truck.
“I could see that she was thankful and she was happy to be in a safer environment,” Young says of the dog he saved.
Young drove the dog right to the Houston SPCA, where a veterinary exam revealed the dog was suffering from broken bones and internal bleeding, likely from being hit by a vehicle. She had emergency surgery that same day and is now recovering at the shelter.
The dog wasn’t wearing a collar or tags when she arrived at the SPCA and a scan did not reveal a microchip, so it is believed the Lab mix doesn’t have an owner. But thanks to Rickey Young’s quick actions, the dog will live and likely find a new home once her injuries are fully healed.
DogTime salutes Ricky Young for his rescue.