PHOENIX – Steve Maynard and A.J. Gonzalez drive all over the state of Arizona for their job measuring the smoothness of road surfaces for the Department of Transportation.
Their work leads them to see many different things on highways, including stray animals.
On Jan. 9, Maynard and Gonzalez were going west on Route 260 toward Payson when they saw a dog wandering on an overpass. The dog almost got hit by a truck, so the two turned on their emergency lights and stopped to call her to the car.
"The dog was growling a little at first," Gonzalez said, "but she eventually came over to us."
The German shepherd mix, named Lexi, had a collar and tags. Lexi was registered in Pima County and with a little research and some help from the Pima Animal Care Center, the pair found her owners in Tucson and let them know their dog had been found.
"The owners were so happy," Maynard said. "They had pretty much given up hope of finding her, so to call and let them know their dog was alive was a great feeling."
Lexi had been missing since Christmas Day, escaping from a place her owners had been renting near the Mogollon Rim. She wandered in the forest near Woods Canyon Lake for two weeks before Maynard and Gonzalez found her 10 miles from where she went missing.
"Words cannot express how glad we were to receive that call," said Michael Bauschka, Lexi’s owner. "We are so appreciative that they went out of their way to rescue our dog."
Maynard and Gonzalez have found dogs along the highway before, including two puppies in the northeastern part of Arizona in 2012.
"We were at the right place at the right time," Gonzalez said. "It was a happy ending for all involved."