A wayward Yorkie gets a ride home

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ARF’s Janice Murasko (left) and Terri Hardy with always-affectionate Lucky on their road trip to return Lucky to his owner in Utah. What’s a road trip without dog kisses?  Photos courtesy Janice Murasko

ARF’s Janice Murasko (left) and Terri Hardy with always-affectionate Lucky on their road trip to return Lucky to his owner in Utah. What’s a road trip without dog kisses?
Photos courtesy Janice Murasko


Lucky, a 7-year-old Yorkshire terrier, had very bad luck. He was a pawn caught in an emotional triangle involving great distance, his female owner in Utah, her new truck-driver boyfriend, and the boyfriend’s wife and family in California.

But then a team from the Animal Rescue Friends of Idyllwild changed the little Yorkie’s bad luck to good fortune. In a heartwarming unfolding of providence and serendipity, they rescued Lucky from the Ramona Animal Shelter on day seven of his 10-day window before adoption and drove him home to Utah.

Janice Murasko, ARF’s director of operations and Terri Hardy, director of animal welfare, undertook the road trip for a number of reasons. They had been contacted by the Utah owner who needed help in getting her dog home, the circumstances of Lucky’s predicament tugged at their heartstrings, and Lucky, when they met him, was delightful, loving and absolutely adorable.

Murasko told the story. “We were contacted a month or so ago by this woman in Utah who needed help in getting her dog back,” she recalled. “I believe the owner found us online.” Apparently, the woman, Cherry, who lived near Salt Lake City, had met a truck driver and a relationship ensued. Cherry traveled with the trucker, with Lucky in the cab, for several days before business at home forced Cherry’s return. The plan was that Lucky would remain with the trucker until Cherry could rejoin them in a few days for an extended trip.

Lucky, happily back with his owner in Utah, after the ARF team delivered him.

Lucky, happily back with his owner in Utah, after the ARF team delivered him.

Murasko said the trucker told Cherry he would be back in two days but he never returned. “She said she didn’t know he was married and all she wanted was Lucky’s return,” said Murasko. Cherry texted and called her “boyfriend” but got no answer until at one point the wife answered and told Cherry to stop calling. Finally, Cherry reached the man who promised he would ship Lucky back to her.

He didn’t keep his promise. The next contact came not from the boyfriend but from the Ramona Humane Society Shelter in San Jacinto telling her that Lucky had been dropped at their facility and would be placed for adoption within 10 days.

That’s when ARF received the frantic call from Cherry. Money had to be paid to get Lucky from the shelter and costs of returning him to Utah had to be considered. Money proved difficult for Cherry to provide. Fortunately, her brother called the shelter with a credit card authorization that allowed Murasko to pick up Lucky. Murasko found a foster home in Idyllwild for Lucky if and until arrangements could be made for his return to Utah.

“I told Cherry there were three options: to drive here to get her dog, come up with the airfare to have the dog shipped, or have a professional animal transport service return Lucky to Utah,” said Murasko. “All the options were too expensive for Cherry to handle.”

Finally, with options exhausted, and their emotions involved, Murasko and Hardy decided to take a road trip. Cherry’s brother agreed to pay for gas and motels for the trip to Utah. “The earliest we could leave was on July 5,” she said. “Lucky was on a harness and tether in the back seat that gave him enough room to be on the armrest between us. At night he slept with me in my bed. He is the most loving and delightful animal.”

Murasko posted a short video on ARF’s Facebook page of the moment they returned Lucky to Cherry. And if pictures or videos are worth more than words, it is worth your time to visit the site and see Lucky’s reunion with his owner and home (www.facebook.com/ARF-Animal-Rescue-Friends-of-Idyllwild-CA-168421229848219/).

The story had a happy ending because of the open-hearted devotion of two of ARF’s directors who literally went the extra miles to help a tiny, four-legged being in need.

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