During rush hour Wednesday morning, Placer County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stan Semenuk was driving westbound on the busy I-80 in Northern California when he spotted a young Bloodhound darting across the interstate. The Bloodhound, named Ruger, somehow made it safely across all three eastbound lanes and then leaped over the center divider.
“Everybody came to a screeching halt trying to avoid hitting the dog,” Semenuk said in a video posted on the Placer County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. “So I immediately pull over — as a K9 handler, I have a little bit of a thing for dogs — and I tried to call him over to me. I just tried to get him out of the road so he didn’t get hit.”
Semenuk could tell Ruger was terrified by the Bloodhound’s body language. “He looks at me, kind of looks all around, probably trying to find his owner or something that looks familiar to him — and then he jets out back into westbound lanes of traffic,” he said.
Unfortunately, Ruger was struck by a car. He survived, but one of his paws was pinned under a rear tire, trapping the dog.
Semenuk repositioned his patrol car and turned on the flashing lights to keep other cars away the accident scene. An off-duty California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer who saw what happened also pulled over, and the two men immediately went to work to free Ruger. As the CHP officer raised the tire using a jack from his truck. Semenuk prepared to use a leash as a makeshift collar to pull the frightened dog out from under the car.
The deputy put on heavy gloves just in case Ruger bit him, but they were unnecessary. “He was actually very, very calm,” Semenuk said. “Once I got there, I started talking to him, trying to calm the dog down. He was in a lot of pain. He was crying, he was whimpering.”
Ruger let Semenuk lift him up and carry him to the side of the freeway. “He was a super good boy,” the deputy said.
The CHP officer went on his way and Semenuk comforted Ruger until officers from Placer County Animal Services arrived — along with Ruger’s owners, according to the Sacramento Bee. It’s not known how Ruger ended up running loose on an interstate.
Ruger was transported to a local veterinary clinic for emergency treatment. What’s really amazing is that despite what he went through, the Bloodhound had no broken bones — only lacerations and road rash. He’s expected to make a full recovery.
His rescue was captured on Semenuk’s patrol car dashboard camera. As the sheriff’s office warns, it’s disturbing to watch, but worth it, since it has a happy ending.
Thank you, Deputy Semenuk and the CHP officer for saving Ruger’s life.