Community responds to help find Megan after owner is hospitalized following crash
The story of Megan, the little lost dog, almost had a happy ending.
On Monday, Oct. 5, the curly little gray pooch was riding with her owner, Timothy Adams, 58, of Ontario, Canada, when the Freightliner semi truck he was driving northbound on Highway 5 ran off the right side of the highway then overcorrected and came back onto the roadway before sliding counter-clockwise across the pavement and striking a tree, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol report of the accident.
Adams, suffering serious injuries, was flown by Air Evac to a Springfield hospital.
His terrified little dog, Megan, was removed from the vehicle by emergency personnel – who then wondered what to do with her as they cleared the scene of the crash about 3 miles south of Gainesville.
When MSHP Cpl. Jim Britt called the Ozark County Sheriff’s Office to ask for help, dispatcher Krista Crisp took the call.
“He said, ‘I don’t know what to do with the dog,’” Krista recalled last week. “I told him, ‘Well, bring her here, and I’ll figure it out.’”
Krista called her son, Alex, and asked him to bring the family’s dog crate to the sheriff’s office, and about four hours after the 5 p.m. crash, Gainesville fire chief Ed Doiron and GVFD first responder Lisa Hoffman delivered Megan to Krista there.
“At first, she was really scared and trying to hide out. I had the crate ready and opened up. I said, ‘Come on, Megan, let’s get into your bed,’ and she crawled in and lay down,” Krista said.
After a while, the little dog seemed to relax a bit and was walking around the office, Krista said.
‘She just vanished’
When her shift ended at 11 p.m., Krista was loading the crate and dog food and other items into her car with the help of Ozark County Deputy Seth Miller. She hadn’t wanted to jostle the little dog around when the crate was moved, so she had Megan walking alongside her. “She was walking along great. And then we got to the car, and the next thing I knew, she was gone. She just vanished,” Krista said. “It was like she disappeared into a black hole.”
Krista and Miller spent about 90 minutes calling and searching the area for the little dog and finally, sometime after midnight, they gave up. “I thought she would surely come around,” Krista said. “So I went home. But then I came back in the middle of the night and looked some more. Nothing.”
When she woke up Tuesday morning, Krista said, “I had three or four missed messages and texts from people saying, ‘I saw your dog.’ So I headed back up to the sheriff’s office. The deputies had seen her and were trying to figure out how to catch her. I saw her in different places, trotting down the road. I kind of tried to follow her, but she was always about 20 yards away from me. I knew she was scared. But I also knew she might bite me if I just grabbed her.”
Several times that day, Krista went up and down County Road 806, which runs by the sheriff’s office, to let residents know she was looking for the dog. “I told them to bring her to the office and call me,” she said. “Everyone kept a lookout.”
Tuesday passed, and Megan was still on the loose. When a nearby resident called to say she was hanging out by his mailbox, Krista rushed back up to County Road 806 and followed the dog all the way to the Ozark County Ambulance shed.
“But anytime she saw me, she’d go the opposite way,” Krista said.
She put dog food and hotdogs out by the Ozark Vinyl building next door to the ambulance base, and Megan would “walk up to it and sniff it, but as soon as she saw me, she’d keep on going,” she said.
The Ozark County Times posted Megan’s photo on its Facebook page, and several people posted sightings. The post was shared by 311 Facebook users. Judging by the comments, Megan went back and forth between the sheriff’s office and the ambulance shed several times, always staying just beyond reach of anyone who tried to get near her.
‘We’ve got your dog’
On Thursday, the sightings stopped.
“I was touching base with everyone, and no one had seen her,” Krista said.
Then, on Friday morning, Ozark County Ambulance District administrator Stacy Raney spotted Megan nearly 6 miles from town – on Highway 5 north of Gainesville at the bottom of the big hill approaching Wilson Industries (the former Bryant Plastics).
He didn’t have Krista’s cell number, so he called Gainesville fire chief Ed Doiron, who immediately contacted Krista. “We’ve got your dog,” he told her.
Krista was with her husband, Robert, in Pontiac when she got the call. They rushed back to Gainesville, picked up the crate at the sheriff’s office then headed up Highway 5. As they neared the scene, Krista said, her heart stopped. “I saw vehicles parked next to the highway. Ed had the light bar going on his truck. I thought, ‘Oh no, there’s been a wreck because of the dog.’ Then, I saw Ed kneeling down and he had a white canvas thing, and I thought, ‘Oh, dear God. It’s a body bag,’” she said.
They quickly parked and rushed the crate to where Doiron was kneeling next to Kyle Green, who had stopped to help. Megan was hiding under Raney’s vehicle, and Kyle was reaching in with the white tarp to pull her out.
And finally, they had her back in the crate.
“She was scared out of her mind,” Krista said. “Her little tongue was beet red, and she wasn’t drooling, so I knew she had to be dehydrated.”
‘She obviously recognized the voice’
She took Meghan home and gently took her out of the crate. “She had cockleburs in her fur. They were awful, tangled clear down to her skin, and she smelled like she’d rolled in manure. She drank a little and ate a few bites of hotdog,” Krista said.
Because truckdriver Timothy Adams remains in serious condition in the Springfield hospital, Krista contacted his wife, Myrna, in Canada, to let her know Megan had been found. “I put her on speaker phone, and she said, ‘Megan! Megan!’ and Megan kind of pushed her head against the cage. She obviously recognized the voice.”
Krista was getting ready to try to give her a bath when Lana Bushong called and offered to help. Lana suggested taking the dog to local dog groomer Deb Eslinger to deal with the burs, but when Krista called her, Eslinger said they needed to take Megan to the veterinarian first.
Krista soon delivered Megan into the care of Dr. Brian Luark at the Gainesville Vet Clinic. He quickly looked her over and knew she needed more than a cursory checkup. He told Krista that Megan needed to stay overnight so they could give her fluids and antibiotics. He couldn’t guarantee anything, he told Krista, but they would do what they could.
Meanwhile, Krista, who’s now nursing a sore finger where Megan bit her, contacted Mountain Home, Arkansas, company Baker Towing, the service that had removed Adams’ Freightliner from the crash site. “I wanted to see if they could get Megan’s papers and her dog bed so I could comfort her. The guy was willing to help with that, and my husband was going to go down and pick it up,” Krista said.
Megan had several severe problems, including bad diarrhea and flystrikes, Luark told the Times Monday, all probably stemming from being on her own for four days and “probably eating roadkill,” among other issues.
The vet clinic contacted Myrna Adams to ask if she wanted them to begin more intensive treatment, including x-rays and bloodwork, and she said yes.
But Megan was too far gone. Before Luark and his partner, Dr. Katlin Hornig, could begin further treatment Saturday morning, the little dog died.
“I feel awful. I’m absolutely devastated,” Krista said Saturday afternoon.
She called the vet clinic, prepared to pay Megan’s bill. But she was told that Myrna Adams had told them to send it to her. “They wouldn’t even tell me how much it was,” Krista said.
She blames herself for Megan’s escape – although she’s been assured by Myrna Adams and everyone else involved in Megan’s story that she is the hero, not the culprit.
Responding to a Times email, Ellysse Hassell expressed the family’s thanks for all the help the community gave in trying to find Megan. “Tim is still in hospital and unaware of Megan’s adventures which we believe was an effort to find her best friend,” she wrote, adding, “She traveled 9 miles within 48 hrs of her last spotting.”
Several other people also expressed amazement that the little dog traveled so far between the time she was seen Wednesday on County Road 806 by the sheriff’s office and Friday morning, when she was spotted on Highway 5 near Wilson Industries.
To fire chief Ed Doiron, it made perfect sense. “Canada is north,” he said. “She was headed home.”