By Barbara Anderson
From: The Fresno Bee
Photo: Sara Quinn gets reacquainted with Rogue, who went missing for eight months after a January truck accident that killed the dog’s owner, Rick Erickson of Friant.
When Sara Quinn saw the photo of the dog with the distinctive Mickey Mouse round ears last week, she knew instantly that Rogue had been found.
And she knew a family’s healing could begin.
On Monday, outside the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Fresno, Quinn wrapped her arms around the black-and-brown coated, brown-eyed dog. She wept. Rogue leaned against her.
“You’re going to go home to have the best life you’ve ever had,” Quinn whispered into Rogue’s ear, as the dog nuzzled into her lap.
Rogue, a 2-year-old rare Cao de Fila de Sao Miguel cattle dog, had been missing since Jan. 13. That’s when rancher Richard Erickson of Friant crashed his Chevrolet Trailblazer into a tree on Old Friant Road and was ejected. Erickson, 30, died two days later at Community Regional Medical Center.
Rogue and Erickson had been inseparable. Erickson, whose ranch breeds prize bucking bulls, had done his research to find Rogue. An animal lover, Erickson was attracted to rare big dog breeds, Quinn said. But Rogue was special. “He just knew that was the dog for him,” she said.
Erickson’s family — including Quinn, the girlfriend of Erickson’s cousin — searched for Rogue for months but had given up hope, thinking he must’ve crawled off to die after the accident.
“It feels so good to know we didn’t fail Rick, we were able to find his baby and bring him home,” Quinn said Monday evening waiting to be reunited with Rogue at the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Fresno.
No one knows how Rogue, lost for eight months, survived.
On Aug. 13, animal control officers got a call from Fresno State police that a dog was in traffic. Rogue was picked up and taken to the CCSPCA. He was thin but healthy.
The CCSPCA put Rogue up for adoption on Aug. 21. The staff knew there was something special about the dog, but didn’t know his breed. They posted a picture of him.
Rogue looks like a mastiff-pit bull mix, but his round ears stood out, and someone who saw his picture told the CCSPCA the breed, said Beth Caffrey, director of community relations. To her knowledge only five of Rogue’s breed
are in the United States.
Thursday, Quinn spotted Rogue’s picture on a lost-animal website while sitting at her boyfriend’s hospital bed. Travis Cody Woods, 27, is Erickson’s cousin — more like a brother, Quinn said — and had become deeply depressed after his death. Woods’ health declined until he fell into a coma.
At seeing Rogue’s picture, Quinn said she yelled, “Travis, I found Rogue.” Woods came out of the coma about four hours later. On Monday, before picking Rogue up at the CCSPCA, Quinn helped Woods transfer to a rehabilitation hospital. “He got the hope he needed,” she said.
Rogue will give Erickson’s mother comfort as well, Quinn said. She planned to surprise her with the dog at her son’s ranch Monday evening.
“This is a tremendous moment for us,” Quinn said. “The family has had a dark cloud hanging over its head and this is an overwhelming amount of light.”