Retired Police Officer Locates Missing German Shepherd After Deadly Crash

After a fatal crash on I-95 in Virginia, Eric and Mary VonCanon were taking a detour around the site when they spotted something unusual on the side of the road. 

Instead of wreckage or split tires, the couple saw a German shepherd laying on the side of the highway in the grass, complete with her collar and leash. 

During the crash, she was thrown from one of the vehicles and ended up lost. Luckily, Eric VonCanon, a retired police officer and dad to two German shepherds of his own, was passing by at just the right time to spot her. 

Image: Provided by Eric VonCanon

“Right away I noticed she had a collar, had tags hanging and a leash,” Eric VonCanon told iHeartDogs. “This wasn’t a stray dog that somebody discarded. I grabbed the leash and said, ‘Come on,’ and she had a little limp. But she had those eyes that were so appreciative.”

VonCanon and his wife took the dog to Brook Run Animal Clinic in Richmond for medical attention. That’s where they learned that her name was Gemma, after looking at her tags. 

It turns out, Gemma’s owner survived the accident and was rushed to the hospital. Family members had been calling local veterinary offices to see if anyone had brought in the dog. VonCanon was able to get in contact with Gemma’s mom to let her know that, to her relief, her dog was safe. 

Image: Provided by Eric VonCanon

“The girl texted me and was very thankful,” VonCanon said. “She explained to me that even when they were trying to get her out of the car, all she was doing was yelling about her dog. Now she knows she has her dog and everyone on her side of the family is ok.”

Despite a few scratches, Gemma turned out just fine from the accident. Unfortunately, one of the vehicles involved in the Wednesday morning crash had four fatalities. VonCanon wants to stress that his finding Gemma shouldn’t outshine the tragic nature of this accident.  

“I can’t emphasize enough how me getting a dog off the interstate is nothing compared to what the families involved in that accident went through and what cops went through responding to it,” VonCanon said. “But in the end, it was so good to hear that this girl was going to get her dog back.”

VonCanon’s two German shepherds, Bella and Niko. Image: Provided by Eric VonCanon

While Gemma’s owner is still in the hospital recovering from her injuries, they will be reunited soon. VonCanon, who handled canines while he was on the force, is just glad he was in the right place at the right time. 

“One thing I don’t understand is how that dog laid there for four hours and absolutely no one stopped to pick her up,” he said. “You see all kinds of stuff on the side of the road; you see tires, you see bumpers, you just don’t see a gorgeous black and tan shepherd on the side of the road. We’re really glad that we were there to help.”

Featured Image: Provided by Eric VonCanon

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