This is the tale of one lucky pooch.
A late Christmas miracle you could say.
Two weeks after going missing, a wayward dog has found its way home with the help of strangers.
Steve Maynard and AJ Gonzalez, Arizona Department of Transportation employees, are the unsuspecting stars of this tale.
On Jan. 9, Maynard and Gonzalez were measuring the smoothness of road surfaces, a job that has led to many unexpected discoveries — including a couple of puppies in the northeastern part of the state two summers ago.
On this particular day as they drove west on Highway 260, they saw a forlorn looking dog wandering on an overpass east of Payson.
After watching a truck in front of them nearly hit the poor pooch, they turned on their vehicle’s emergency lights and came to a stop. Traffic slowed down and Gonzalez jumped out to call the dog over to the vehicle.
“The dog was growling a little at first,” said Gonzalez, “but she eventually came over to us.”
As it turned out, the German Shepherd mix named Lexi had been missing since Christmas Day after escaping from a rental home on the Mogollon Rim.
After wandering in the forest near Woods Canyon Lake for two weeks, she was found by Maynard and Gonzalez about 10 miles from where she went missing.
The men took Lexi to the ADOT maintenance yard just outside of Star Valley and filled her up with treats from a local pet store.
“It was apparent she was exhausted and had not eaten in some time,” according to an ADOT press release.
Luckily, Lexi had a collar with tags registered in Pima County. Through a bit of research and help from the Pima Animal Care Center, Maynard contacted the Tucson owners.
“The owners were so happy,” said Maynard, who took Lexi back to his house in the Phoenix area where family members picked her up. “They had pretty much given up hope of finding her.”
“Words cannot express how glad we were to receive that call,” said Michael Bauschka, Lexi’s owner. “We are so appreciative that they went out of their way to rescue our dog.”