A United Parcel Service driver has delivered an Uplifting Puppy Story.
Jason Harcrow, 39, was on the job about 3 p.m. Tuesday in the area of East Hatch and Mountain View roads when he saw an old blue farm truck speeding off, leaving a small dog in a cloud of dust.
“I’m rolling up and I see it pull away in the dirt, going pretty fast, and the little dog is chasing it down the yellow line,” the Hughson resident said Wednesday morning. He’s seen enough roadkill in his 16 years with UPS to fear the animal quickly would be “a goner.”
A car coming the opposite direction startled the dog into running beneath Harcrow’s UPS truck as he still was pulling over. Another motorist who stopped told him the driver of the truck had opened the door and tossed out the dog.
In his side mirrors, “I could see it darting back and forth under my truck,” said Harcrow, who has a dog and cat himself.
Once Harcrow came to a stop, he got out to try to coax the scared dog to him. “It was being stubborn for a while (staying out of reach). ... I tried to grab him and he was kind of playing with me. I didn’t want to get down on all fours, so I was just kind of swiping for him. I was getting a little frustrated.”
Harcrow finally got hold of the dog and plopped him in the back of his truck. He called Stanislaus County Animal Services, which told him an officer would meet him to take the dog. “But I couldn’t wait and just stop working, so I kept him in the back of my truck a little while and did more deliveries,” he said. “He’s an awesome little pup.”
That’s high praise from Harcrow, who noted that mail carriers and deliverymen traditionally don’t have great working relationships with dogs.
Harcrow took the dog to the Hughson police substation, where it was collected by Animal Services. Officers didn’t even catch Harcrow’s name at the time, Sgt. Juan Alanis said. “He was in kind of a rush – the dog wasn’t part of his route.”
Hughson Police Services posted an account on Facebook. “The puppy is in great spirits,” it read, “and will most likely be up for adoption at Stanislaus County Animal Shelter.”
The dog, believed by Animal Services staff to be a Cairn terrier less than a year old, will be available for adoption next week if unclaimed by his owners, Executive Director Annette Patton said Wednesday.
The dog has no microchip or tags identifying ownership, she said, but it is healthy and clean and appears cared for.
If owners do not retrieve the dog beforehand, he will be neutered Monday and available for adoption at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Animal Services, 3647 Cornucopia Way.
The adoption fee is $90 – “a great deal because it includes neutering, vaccinations and a microchip,” Patton said.
Should the owners claim the dog, it must be licensed and microchipped before it can leave the shelter, she said.
Some of Harcrow’s colleagues saw social media and news reports of his dog rescue. “We’re very proud of him,” said Jessica Lafferty, supervisor at the UPS hub in Ceres. “He’s a very good guy.”
For more information, including photo galleries of adoptable and lost cats and dogs, visit the Animal Services website at www.stanislausanimalservices.com.