On a Friday night in 2019, Jason Gasparik was driving home on a busy road when he saw something that made him pull over.
“I noticed a vehicle stopped on the road and someone was running around in the grass median,” he told The Dodo. “I then noticed the dog running in circles in the road, confused and scared.”
The dog in question was Roxy, a 70-pound chocolate Lab who was not interested in getting caught. Even the offer of a treat couldn’t lure her towards her potential rescuers.
This went on for an hour until Gasparik noticed that the pup might be partly playing – and he concocted a plan to get closer to her.
“I noticed she would run after me if I lightly jogged. She was playful but very apprehensive,” he said. “I decided to run around the parking lot nearby and after some laps around, she finally got tired, lay down and I was able to grab her neck scruff.”
Gasparik went above and beyond for the dog one she was safe, taking her to the nearest 24-hour vet clinic to have her microchip checked.
Then, he took her home with him after finding out the chip was there but not registered to an owner.
In the process of packing for a business trip, he knew he was going to have to do some serious work to find her real owner.
So he started with social media, posting photos and information about her.
He also used PawBoost, which helps lost animal posts make their way to the relevant Lost & Found Facebook groups in an area.
Like many labs, Roxy was just pleased to have some attention.
“The first night I brought her to my home, she immediately jumped on my bed and landed right on top of me licking my face,” Gasparik said. “She was excited but you could tell she was so confused and scared — but happy to be hanging out with me.”
Once she had learned not to be afraid, it was playtime with her new friend!
When Gasparik didn’t get any bites on Facebook, he got creative – very creative. He decided he would make a sign and stand outside with it hoping to get the attention of someone in the area who knew the pup.
“I made my sign with an old moving box and a tiki torch pole and decided to go to the corner [where I found Roxy],” he told The Dodo.
It was a bold move – and one that made him feel pretty silly. But he was running out of time before he needed to leave town on his business trip.
“Admittedly, I felt like a complete fool when I first got out of my truck and started walking to the corner,” Gasparik added. “I almost turned around because I figured everyone would ignore me thinking I was some scammer just looking for money or something.”
With the dog standing by, he began waving at people to get their attention. And, of course, people took photos of the whole scene and posted those to Facebook as well.
He had no luck on Saturday even though many people stopped to chat with him.
Undeterred, he headed out to the corner again on Sunday!
That day, local photographer Eben Adrian snapped a photo that went viral.
“That’s when it skyrocketed. I was getting pinged left and right. I couldn’t keep up with all the messages I was getting,” he said, according to PEOPLE.
And some of those were from women offering to shelter BOTH Gasparik and the dog!
Not all heroes wear capes. 👏🏼😭This man is standing on the street in Ballantyne looking for this lost dog’s owner. @wcnc
Pup was found on Ballantyne Commons Pkwy(Photo: Eben Patten) pic.twitter.com/LCW9JPTlCL
— Meilin Tompkins (@MeilinTompkins) March 3, 2019
Luckily, that day he got a message on his Nextdoor app:
“At 12:30, I was again standing on the corner with my sign and I got a message on Nextdoor from a lady saying she found the owner of Roxy driving around several miles away trying to find her!” he said.
The man has mobility issues so he was simply calling her name out of the window of his car.
The woman connected the two men and the sweet dog, and Roxy was reunited with her dad.
“As soon as Roxy saw him her ears perked up and she ran to him and he had all the paperwork to show that he was the owner. And of course he had tons of pictures of her on his cellphone.”
Gasparik said that there’s a lesson to be learned here:
“I could have returned Roxy two hours after I found her if Ed would have known to register his chip. It could have been just that simple.”
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Gasparik says he plans to stay in touch with Roxy and her owner and take her for walks.
Be sure to scroll down for an interview with the good samaritan.
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