Angelica Rodriguez of Detroit, left, and Maria Sauchuk of Dearborn talk before a microchip is inserted in Lucky. Rodriguez's dog got out of its yard and spent about a week on the streets in the cold before Sauchuk found him and combed websites to find out where he belonged. (Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)
Angelica Rodriquez joined Maria Sauchuk at a local veterinarian’s Wednesday to have a microchip inserted in her dog Lucky.
Sauchuk was there to pay for the short procedure — she has a stake in making sure Lucky doesn’t get lost. Sauchuk found the Chow mix roaming through Dearborn last week and combed the lost-pet ads until she saw Rodriquez’s plea for Lucky’s safe return.
The reunion Tuesday night in Detroit might never have happened: Lucky is 18 years old and was out in subzero temperatures.
He was missing more than a week, long enough for Rodriquez to despair she might never see her longtime companion again.
“I was starting to give up hope,” Rodriguez said. “I’m like, he would’ve come back home (by now) if he was going to come back.”
Sauchuk of Dearborn routinely rescues pets, so when she spotted what looked like a stray dog Jan. 21, she jumped into action.
“I heard a howl — a ‘Help-me’ howl,” Sauchuk said. “I knew the elements were life and death and no animal should be out.”
His paws and nose were bloody from trekking the frozen streets during a period when weather forecasters warned humans and pets to stay indoors. So she corralled Lucky and took him inside to warm up.
Then she combed lost-pet websites. When she saw a photo of a furry white dog on the Michigan Humane Society’s website, she knew she had made a match.
Lucky was from neighboring Detroit, about four miles away. The call from Sauchuk made Rodriquez burst into tears.
“My heart dropped ... she found my dog,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriquez said Lucky was accidentally left outside their Detroit home Jan. 21 into their gated yard. When she noticed Lucky wasn’t inside the house, she rushed outside but he was gone.
“I guess the gate didn’t close all the way right,” she said.
She marvels at his stamina and cunning. “He had two big main streets to cross: Southfield and Warren,” Rodriguez said.
Her arthritic Husky-chow mix is more than just a canine companion. He has long been family.
Rodriguez was 3 years old when, pleading for a dog, her stepfather brought home Lucky. But Lucky quickly grew on him, too.
“He was always with him,” Rodriguez said. “If he would be on the couch, (Lucky) would be on the bed. If he was laying in his bed, (Lucky) would be in the bed.
Last February, Mark Swann, her stepfather, died of heart disease.
“With (Lucky), I feel like my stepdad is not gone,” Rodriquez said.
“It’s an amazing story,” Cindy Carroll said Dearborn Family Pet Care vet technician who helped microchip Lucky. His hearty coat of fur helped him on the streets but, Carroll said, “Ithink it was also his spirit and will to want to live.”