Retriever found safe after crash

Posted July 14, 2009, at 10:14 p.m.

CHARLOTTE, Maine — Shadow, the 2-year-old golden retriever service dog who ran away from an accident scene in Amherst last week, has been found and returned to his owner.

The dog was found on the porch of a home near the accident scene on Route 9.

“He just collapsed there,” said owner Jodi Thomas, 40, of Charlotte, who was injured in the accident. “He was exhausted.”

Shadow had run off into the woods and apparently his leash became tangled around a small tree. According to Thomas, the dog had chewed through the tree. Pieces of wood were still tangled in the leash when he was found.

The dog was muddy, but the woman who found him washed him and combed him and then returned him to Thomas.

It was a joyful reunion, Thomas said.

“He jumped up on me and he never does that,” she said. “He stood up and put his paws around my neck. He knows how to hug. He was as relieved to see me as I was to see him.”

Shadow is more than a family pet. He is a service dog, who helps Thomas daily.

“He provides balance for me,” she said. “He picks up things for me; when I’m doing the laundry, he picks up the laundry for me. He’s even picked up a needle and thread.”

Shadow suffered minor cuts when Thomas’ vehicle rolled over on Route 9 on July 7. His neck was rubbed raw from his collar and he cut his mouth and gums while chewing himself free from the tree, Thomas said. He was at the veterinarian on Tuesday for a checkup and was well on his way to a full recovery.

He was limping slightly when he returned home, but Thomas said she gave him a massage, which helped, and let him listen to a little music.

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