Loyal Lab Goes Home
Owners reunited with dog who refused to abandon fallen friend on California highway.
The owners of a dog who stayed by another dog's side after her companion was struck and killed by a vehicle on a busy Southern California street came forward Monday morning.
"We have an internal criteria that helps us determine are you really the owner and they definitely passed the smell test," said Aaron Reyes, deputy director of LA County Department of Animal Care and Control.
"Her head perked up and her tail went a thousand miles an hour. She acted differently with her mom and dad like she did to nobody else."
Turns out, for the couple, who did not own the dog that died, has been looking for Maggie, who was called "Grace" by the staff at the Baldwin Park Animal Care Center, since she went missing last Wednesday.
Her owners went out shopping, and when they returned home, the gate was open, Reyes said.
They went to the Department of Animal Control and Care, but Maggie was still out in the animal control vehicle.
"They've been checking the Internet every single day trying to find her," Reyes said, "but the problem with that is, what you might call a lab mix, I might call a shepherd mix."
The couple will be given a citation for violating the leash law, not giving the dog proper vaccines and not having a microchip implanted in her.
They will also have to pay fees related to her stay at the animal shelter, including Maggie's spaying procedure.
"They're very apologetic. And at this point we are not here to judge," Reyes said, adding that animal control will still carry out an inspection of their home.
Maggie came into animal control's care after she stuck by her companion, a golden retriever, as traffic rolled past just a few feet away.
A passerby placed traffic cones around the dogs so drivers would be aware the animals were in the street.
"Her display of compassion and loyalty is like no other," Reyes said. "Those cones weren't down the entire time."
Maggie, thought to be homeless, was in a high demand after her courageous story made headlines.
"She was really scared at first," said Isha Willits, an animal care attendant at the center. "But she's starting to come around. She's walking on a leash more, she's giving kisses. The more love she gets, the better she'll be."
Before Maggie's family showed up, the passerby who placed the traffic cones around the dogs and shot the video below was slated to adopt her Monday afternoon.
If that person didn't show, there were other interested parties waiting in the wings, Willits said.
"I think it's the loyalty for her companion," Willits said. "We all reach out for something like that."
The shelter has about 400 other dogs up for adoption.