Against all odds, a 13-year-old Shih Tzu-poodle cross named Nugget was unharmed in a car crash that killed her owner and his best friend in February.
Miraculously, Nugget also survived two nights near the accident scene in Deroche before she was found by neighbours who began searching for her as soon as they learned about the collision.
“It was unsettling, not knowing what happened to the dog,” explained Shannon Marshall, who now has custody of Nugget.
Marshall lives in a mobile home park in Lake Errock and was a neighbour to the two crash victims.
Marshall believes the two men, the 56-year-old driver and the 73-year-old passenger, were on their way to the Deroche store on the afternoon of Feb. 10 when their vehicle crashed into the ditch on the north side of the Lougheed Highway.
News of their deaths spread quickly in the park, where many residents spent time together regularly and called themselves family.
Marshall is certain the little white dog was on her owner’s lap at the time of the accident.
“She was his pride and joy,” explained Marshall, who noted Nugget’s 73-year-old master was rarely without his pet and Nugget didn’t spend much time outside.
She suspects the dog ran away from the scene when emergency personnel arrived. The noise and the commotion must have scared her, commented Marshall.
When neighbours learned Nugget was missing, they took up the search. On the second day, Marshall’s neighbour found Nugget.
“At first we couldn’t tell if she was OK because she was covered in mud and debris,” said Marshall. “I gave her a bath and couldn’t find a scratch or bump on her.”
Marshall said she had promised Nugget’s owner she would look after the dog if anything happened to him.
“He was 73,” she explained. “She knows me very well, sees me every day. He loved her so much.”
Having Nugget with her has also helped Marshall cope with the loss of her friends.
“Having her is like having a piece of them still with us,” said Marshall.
The families of the two men did not want their names released.