Trooper finds dog missing after car crash
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | January 03,2014
Zorro, a 16-year-old dog who disappeared after his owners’ car crashed Wednesday in Rockingham, is wrapped in a blanket inside a police cruiser after his discovery Thursday.
ROCKINGHAM — A persistent Vermont State Police trooper found a missing elderly dog early Thursday, putting thousands of Vermont animal lovers and a heartbroken New Jersey family at ease.
Trooper Matthew Steeves of the Vermont State Police found Zorro shortly after midnight on the southbound lane of Interstate 91 in Rockingham, about 0.2 miles from the scene of the earlier motor vehicle crash that injured Zorro’s New Jersey owners.
Steeves, who couldn’t be reached for comment, found the dog just as a fierce snowstorm with temperatures hovering near zero reached southern Vermont early Thursday.
The dog, who was shivering when Steeves found him walking on the highway’s snowy shoulder, is now recovering with relatives of his owners, David Andrews, 83, and Kim Andrews, 81, of Alpine, N.J. Steeves wrapped Zorro in a blanket and placed him in his cruiser, according to his brief press release, and the dog stopped shivering.
According to the Andrews’ grandson, Fiery Cushman, a professor at Brown University, his grandparents were treated and released from Springfield Hospital and are already home in New Jersey, where they receive additional treatment and await Zorro’s return.
“My grandparents are doing fine,” he said.
Cushman said Zorro was with Cushman’s aunt and uncle in Saxtons River, recovering from his 11-hour ordeal and will be reunited with his owners as soon as the snowstorm is over and roads are clear.
The dog’s plight on a bitterly cold day and night prompted searches by members of the Andrews’ family, area animal lovers and the state police. His loss and eventual recovery prompted more than 5,600 “likes” on WCAX-TV’s Facebook page. There, and on other social media sites, hundreds of people praised the work of the trooper.
Cushman said his family had linked with animal organizations in Vermont on Wednesday trying to get the word out about Zorro, and they learned about Zorro’s discovery when Steeves posted photographs of the recovering Zorro on the Reddit website.
“We are completely touched by everyone’s efforts,” Cushman said. “It is extremely cold and it was a miracle that he survived. He’s just lucky.”
Cushman said the extended family had spent the Christmas holidays in Vermont and New Hampshire, including the Lake Sunapee region, and were on their way back to New Jersey. Police said David Andrews fell asleep at the wheel Wednesday afternoon, drove off I-91 into some ledges and flipped the car.
In the confusion after the accident, their dog Zorro, “a mutt,” in Cushman’s words, ran off. No one knew if the dog had been injured in the crash.
Once family members in other cars learned of the accident, they turned around and headed back to Vermont, either to the accident scene, the hospital or to look for Zorro.
The Andrews have kept Zorro for 15 years, since he was about a year old. The dog, which is black with white patches on his chest and paws, and gray on his muzzle and rump, has poor eyesight and poor hearing, but was described as sweet and docile.
Zorro does not appear to have been injured in the accident, Cushman said, and was drinking water and glad to see Cushman’s aunt and uncle’s house, which Zorro has visited many times before.
“All indications are that he’s healthy,” he said.
“I can’t tell you how grateful my family is how every single person went out of their way to help — to help my grandparents and look for Zorro,” Cushman said. “What a remarkable community Vermont is.”