What started as a terrifying accident, ends in relief and renewed companionship.
Eloise Wray, 95-year-old retired Air Force veteran, was driving home from the grocery store on a late January afternoon with her female chihuahua, Jerry, nestled in her lap. As she was turning down FM 730, another driver crashed into her car, T-boning Wray’s car, causing it to roll over. The impact was so strong that it sent her flying from the driver’s seat into the front passenger seat. Along with all her groceries, the chihuahua was also jostled around the cab of the vehicle.
Thankfully, the accident occurred in front of the Silver Creek Fire Station at the corner of 730 and 1886. The volunteer fire crew sprang into action and quickly rendered aid. Wray’s car was so badly mangled that the crew needed to use the ‘jaws of life’ pneumatic tool to cut her free of the twisted wreck. She and the two who were in the other car were rushed to the hospital. One of the firemen, was asked to watch over Jerry till Wray’s son Rick, a local artist, could arrive and take the chihuahua home.
Unfortunately, the fireman wasn’t familiar with how the collar and leash connected and Jerry was able to wriggle free and bolted away in a neighboring field.
“The guy said she just took off and they couldn’t catch up to her,” Rick said.
Wray was released from the hospital on the same day, suffering only minor bruising on her knees and a cut on her forearm.
Wray’s insurance company ruled the accident as a “no fault accident” meaning, neither Wray nor the other driver were at fault. Yet Wray was given a ticket after the fact for failing to yield. Rick and Wray have hired an attorney to fight the citation.
Wray’s car, a 2018 Santa Fe, was totaled and Jerry was still missing. Rick and Wray were both upset by her disappearance, yet instead of wallowing and giving up hope, they got to work.
They both started calling local pounds and animal shelters, praying someone would call with a sign or a lead to Jerry’s location. Even Wray’s granddaughter, Michelle, got involved in the search with a Facebook post asking anyone with information about little Jerry to call, and offing a reward if found.
A caller who identified herself as ‘Jessica’ answered Michelle’s Facebook ad, claimed they found a chihuahua that fit Jerry’s description sitting on the back porch of a neighbor’s home. Rick quickly drove to the reported site where Jerry was spotted.
“I drove out there, took a look over and she was just sittin’ there as calm as can be. I yelled ‘hey pooty-tang!’ (Jerry’s nickname) she jumped up and ran right over,” Rick said.
Wray said she couldn’t be happier.
“It’s like a miracle. I’m just so grateful to all the people who helped,” Wray said.
Jerry had spent eight days out in the Azle wilderness, and according to Rick, “She was so skinny, she looks like she had lost 10 pounds.”
Besides her possible malnutrition Jerry had no injuries from the wreck or her eight- day adventure. Rick and Wray still plan to take Jerry to the vet to get her looked over for any lingering effects of her adventure, and to get her microchipped.
- Wade Blake
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