Poodle reunited with owners

Nobody thought a toy poodle would survive over a week in severe winter conditions on his own after a highway accident but LJ proved everybody wrong.

Around noon on Thursday, Dec. 29, LeRoy and Jorjan Woodward of Fairview, N.D., were heading to Billings when they hit a nasty patch of ice 10 miles outside of town around mile marker 150. 

Their pickup went into the ditch and rolled. While the air bags did not deploy, the seat belts did their job and Woodwards escaped with the only major injury being a serious cut on LeRoy’s head that required multiple stitches to close. Jorjan had some bruising but both are doing well. 

However,  LJ, their toy poodle, apparently decided to leave the truck after the shake-up. Jorjan says they don’t know exactly how he got out, but he got out and got away. 

“LJ is 4 years old and we have had him since he was 8 weeks old. He was my Christmas present from my family but he quickly became LeRoy’s dog. He was the runt of the litter,” she said.

While the Montana Highway Patrol responded to the accident, Custer County Undersheriff Pat Roos also arrived at the scene. He heard about the missing dog and decided to keep an eye out. For the next couple of days he returned to scene and while he found tracks, he never found the dog. As the temperature dropped, Roos admitted, “I didn’t expect to find this dog.”

Lost dog ads ran in the Miles City Star and area radio stations broadcasted the alert. Notes and photos were posted on the internet and the word went among the dog finders of the area that a small black toy poodle needed finding.

Jorjan  was surprised that “everybody starting looking for our dog.”

On Friday, Jan. 6, more than a week after Woodwards’ accident and a week of sub-zero temperatures, Glendive teacher Charles Phipps was driving by and saw LJ. 

He was about a half mile from the ssite of the accident. 

Phipps had heard about the missing dog on the radio in Dawson County so he pulled over to keep an eye on the dog and called the authorities with the happy news. Roos said he “dropped everything”  headed out to where Phipps had pulled over and the tale came to a happy ending. Although Roos said that “the dog was not being cooperative.” Jeff Faycosh assisted and the men managed to get LJ into Roos’s car and took him to East Main Animal Clinic for a checkup.

Larisa Watson of East Main said LJ was “a little quiet” when he arrived but he quickly found a warm blanket to lie on. 

Dr. Jean Lindley of East Main said he lost a little weight but showed no other signs of having been out in sub-zero weather for several nights.  

Watson called Woodwards with the good news.

How he survived is a mystery but he was fine. 

Woodwards had planned on driving to Miles City on Saturday with one of their daughters to hunt for their dog on Saturday but all they had to do was wait in the East Main Animal Clinic parking lot for a few minutes. Shortly after 2:30 p.m. Saturday, barking and wagging enthusiastically, LJ was returned to his happy owners. Their daughter Tiffany recorded the reunion and posted it online for all the searchers to share. 

Woodward stated, “We found concerned and caring people all around Miles City, from hotel staff to police, especially County Deputy Roos; to veterinary staff at East Main Veterinary Clinic.”

LeRoy mostly said “Good dog” over and over to LJ.

“It made my day,” said Roos of the rescue.