Transportation workers rescue missing dog in Arizona

When German Shepherd mix Lexi went missing from her family’s holiday rental home near Arizona’s Mogollon Rim on Christmas Day, her family — the Bauschkas — were absolutely devastated.

Lexi was cared for by the Arizona Department of Transportation after she was rescued from a busy overpass. (Photo credit: ADOT)

But thanks to the efforts of a couple of workers with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Lexi is finally safe and sound at home.

ADOT employees Steve Maynard and AJ Gonzalez were heading west on State Route 260 near Payson, Ariz. January 9 when they spotted a female dog — Lexi — running along the roadway. As the loose dog wandered onto a busy overpass, Maynard and Gonzalez witnessed the Shepherd mix almost get struck by a passing truck. The two men knew they needed to act quickly or Lexi might not be so lucky when the next vehicle came around.

Maynard and Gonzalez flipped on their emergency lights and slowly came to a careful stop. Gonzalez stepped out of the ADOT vehicle and tried to coax the frightened dog to him.

“The dog was growling a little at first,” he remembers, “but she eventually came over to us.”

Gonzalez and Maynard cautiously lifted Lexi into their truck and brought her back to the ADOT maintenance yard, where the tired and malnourished dog could rest and munch on some treats ADOT workers had purchased from a nearby pet store.

While Lexi settled in for a little R and R, Gonzalez and Maynard decided they’d try to locate her family. Lucky for Lexi, her owners had made sure their dog was always wearing her collar and up-to-date identification tags. Gonzalez and Maynard took down the info on Lexi’s tags and called the Pima Animal Care Center for assistance. Veterinary staff members were able to deduce that Lexi was registered to a family in Pima County. A few phone calls later, Gonzalez and Maynard were able to reach the Bauschka family with some very good news.

“The owners were so happy,” Maynard tells “They had pretty much given up hope of finding her, so to call and let them know their dog was alive was a great feeling.”

That evening, Lexi went with Maynard to his Phoenix area home, where she later reunited with her own family.

“Words cannot express how glad we were to receive that call,” says Lexi’s owner, Michael Bauschka. “We are so appreciative that they went out of their way to rescue our dog.”

Lexi isn’t the first dog the pair has rescued while on the job; two summers ago, while measuring road smoothness in the northeastern part of the Grand Canyon State, Gonzalez and Maynard found and saved a pair of puppies. Today, Gonzalez and Maynard say they were thrilled to be able to be a part of Lexi’s rescue.

“We were in the right place at the right time,” says Gonzalez. “It was a happy ending for all involved.”