A dog is being hailed a hero after it led New Hampshire police to the mangled truck its owner had been driving with a friend when he crashed.
According to New Hampshire State Police, a trooper and Lebanon police officers responded to a report of a loose German Shepard on Interstate 89 at the New Hampshire-Vermont border in Lebanon late Monday. When the officers tried to get close to the dog, it refused to be corralled and continued to run northbound and crossed over the state line into Vermont.
“Almost alerting them to what was off the roadway,” Lt. Daniel Baldassarre of New Hampshire State Police told WPTZ-TV of the dog’s behavior.
A short time later, the trooper and officers found a damaged section of the guardrail near the I-89 and I-91 junction.
According to New Hampshire State Police, the officers then “observed a badly damaged pickup truck that had rolled over. As the officers investigated further, they realized that both occupants of the pickup truck had been ejected from the vehicle and were hypothermic and seriously injured.”
One of those men, Cam Laundry, 31, was later identified as the dog’s owner. Tinsley is a Shiloh Shepherd which is a breed very similar to a German Shepherd and is a year old.
Laundry told NECN and NBC10 Boston in an interview Tuesday that he was knocked out when the truck rolled and he was thrown from the vehicle.
“It’s honestly remarkable,” Laundry told WPTZ-TV. “She’s my little guardian angel, you know? It’s a miracle that she had that kind of intelligence to do what she did.”
Police officers attending to the injured men say the dog was incredibly well-behaved.
“The whole time we were starting our patient care, it sat there nice and calm right next to its owner,” Capt. Jack Hedges of Hartford Fire Department told WPTZ-TV.
Lebanon is located in far western New Hampshire, right on the border with Vermont, about 125 miles northwest of Boston. The weather that night was extremely cold in Lebanon. The high temperature on Monday reached 22 degrees and the low for the day was 11, which is just about average for this time of year.
Both men were taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center to be treated. There was a second dog involved in the crash, the passenger’s bulldog. Police say it also escaped the crash but, sadly, was hit by a vehicle and killed on the interstate.
State troopers say Laundry faces a charge of driving under the influence. He acknowledged in local interviews that he had some drinks but didn’t believe the amount he’d consumed was too much for him to operate a vehicle.
“It definitely was a wake-up call,” Laundry said in the interview, expressing sadness over the loss of his passenger’s dog but noting he’s glad he and his friend weren’t hurt worse.
People who have consumed alcohol can be particularly vulnerable to hypothermia because it causes the blood vessels in the extremities to dilate, causing the body to lose heat quickly, so it was lucky authorities found the injured men when they did.
“We’ve had, you know, a lot of amazing stories with our trained K9s and stuff, but not for just a household pet to lead you down that road and play a role in saving some lives,” Lebanon Chief Phillip Roberts told NBC 10.
Laundry said Tinsley never leaves his side. “We’re always together in that truck that got wrecked, she’s always my co-pilot. I’m just thankful she’s always with me,” Laundry said of his faithful companion, adding, “Everybody loves Tinsley!”