Chance Patterson was driving home from a double shift when tragedy struck twice.
The first thing he remembers from the night is asking about his dogs. While traveling along a mountain road in East Vail, Colorado, a drunk driver struck Patterson head-on. His dogs, Carlitos, a German shepherd, and Izzy the pit bull were in the car with him.
A truck driver witnessed the incident and was on scene seconds after the collision. Dazed and confused, all Chance wanted to know was, “are my dogs ok?”
The driver told him that Carlitos was laying nearby and had succumbed to his injuries. Izzy the pit bull was nowhere to be found.
First responders were forced to cut Chance out of his car and took him straight to the hospital. His body was battered and broken. He’d shattered a leg, ribs, an elbow, and had a lacerated lung.
When word of Chance’s situation got out, the community rallied to find his missing dog. There had been several sightings of Izzy over the weekend and would-be rescuers had a general idea of where she might be hiding.
“There were a few people who got close to her but she would run and hide,” said Holly Walthers, who runs Vail Doggie Day Spa & Lodging where Izzy and Carlitos often frequented.
Five days after the accident, the doggie daycare sent an employee who knows Izzy well to the site of the crash hoping a familiar scent would get her in the open.
The sweet pup walked right up to the employee, tail wagging and happy to find someone she could trust.
Holly immediately called Chance, who was still in the hospital, to let him know his dog had been found. “I had no words,” he remembers. “I was so happy. I thought I’d lost both my dogs.”
Chance was stuck in the hospital for another week before seeing his beloved dog, but the heartwarming reunion was well worth the wait.
“She was so excited to see her dad,” Holly said. “Chance has a long road ahead of him to heal both physically and emotionally. We are just grateful that he has Izzy by his side.”
The 22-year-old told a local paper he harbors no ill will toward the drunken driver. “I just want her to know I’m not mad. She’s alive, I’m alive, and that’s all that matters,” he said.
Before the terrible crash, Carlitos was the dog who wouldn’t leave Chance’s side. Izzy was always more independent. But after the accident, Izzy has stayed glued to her owner’s hip and shows no signs of wandering off…even for a second.
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