CHP saves Chihuahua stranded on highway median

CHP officer John Fransen approaches the Chihuahua, who authorities believe was abandoned; “As sad as it sounds,” he says, “it actually happens pretty often.” (Photo credit: Claycord.com)

Thanks to a couple of quick-thinking California police officers, a little dog has a second chance at a happy life.

During rush hour early Friday evening, police got word from concerned passersby that a small Chihuahua was trapped and shaking on top of a median along Interstate Highway 680.

Contra Costa California Highway Patrol Officers Alex Edmon and John Fransen responded to the emergency call over the radio, hightailing it for the highway median in Walnut Creek on their motorcycles. Sure enough, when they arrived at the scene, they spotted the pint-sized pooch perched precariously on the concrete barrier, cars whizzing by as she trembled helplessly.

The officers knew they’d need to act quickly to recover the dog for fear that she might get spooked and take off into traffic. The officers tried talking to the dog gently, hoping she would trust them enough to let them pull her out of harm’s way.

“We attempted to coax it, we could tell it was very frightened, it was shaking—we were able to pet it a little bit, but other than that we could tell it was not happy,” Officer Edmon tells NBC Bay Area.

Though they first tried a bit of trail mix to encourage the tiny Chi to cooperate, it was a protein bar that finally convinced the nervous dog to allow Officer Fransen to pick her up.

The officers then contacted animal control, who transported the scared pooch to the Contra Costa County Animal Services shelter in nearby Martinez. An examination showed the dog was not injured — just shaken after her ordeal. She is estimated to be around 2 years old and was not wearing tags at the time of her rescue. A scan revealed the Chihuahua did not have a microchip.

Unfortunately, what happened to this little dog is not uncommon at all, CHP officers admit. They have had to pull many abandoned pets from busy coastal roads.

“As sad as it sounds, it actually happens pretty often,” Officer Fransen tells the San Jose Mercury News.

Authorities hope the public will come forward with information about who might have left the Chihuahua on the busy highway.

“As of right now there are no witnesses that actually saw someone take the dog out of a car and leave it there,” Officer Edmon says.

Since word of the Chihuahua’s rescue spread on the Contra Costa CHP Twitter feed, people from all over the country have expressed interest in adopting the little dog, who has now been nicknamed Freeway, according to KRON Channel 4 News. The shelter will likely have to hold a lottery to figure out which lucky family will get to bring Freeway home.

But for those who do not get chosen as Freeway’s new owner, Officer Edmon hopes they will consider adopting one of the more than 1,300 dogs the animal control facility cares for every year.

“I would try to encourage everybody to try and rescue any dog they can. Animal control has already been inundated with calls for this particular dog because of the story, but don’t be discouraged if you can’t get this exact dog,” he says, “look for other dogs out there.”

Contra Costa County Animal Services Sergeant Cedric Williams-Cane agrees, saying that Freeway’s celebrity status may help boost public interest in the other animals at their shelter.

“I believe that there is the perfect family for each animal. And while this animal brought you to the shelter, you may leave with another animal that’s going to better fit your family’s needs,” Sgt. Williams-Cane says.

In the meantime, Freeway is settling in at the shelter, where she’s already made friends with several of the staff members.

Sources: Contra Costa Animal Services Facebook page, KRON Channel 4 News, San Jose Mercury News, NBC Bay Area, Claycord.com