LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A wounded veteran in Lubbock has been reunited with his therapy dog after it went missing on Sunday and was accidentally run over on Tuesday morning.
Dr. Jerry DuBose, a family physician at Covenant Health Plus, tried to swerve to miss Cujo, a 2-year-old cockapoo, but his front left wheel caught the dog's hindquarters.
He immediately pulled off to the side of the road near 82nd and Slide. Cars formed a protective barricade around him as he wrapped Cujo in his jacket and placed him in the back of his car.
DuBose took the dog to Live Oaks Animal Hospital and asked them to stabilize Cujo until they could find his family. Veterinarians were able to locate Randy Harcrow on Craigslist, where his girlfriend had posted a missing ad with Cujo's picture attached.
Cujo has a broken and dislocated hip, and both his hind legs will require surgery. At this time, he has no internal injuries.
Randy Harcrow last saw Cujo off of 86th and Slide when he and Cujo were running errands. Cujo had his head hanging out the window and suddenly lost his balance.
Harcrow tried to grab Cujo before he dropped, but it was too late. Cujo fell onto the road and a car barely missed hitting him.
Harcrow pulled over to catch Cujo, but with his back injuries, he was not physically able to keep up. He last saw Cujo running down an alley way.
"I've just been depressed," Harcrow said. "It's sad because he's part of the family. He's like one of my kids. It's like missing one of them, and all the things that go through your mind."
Harcrow served in the Army for 14 years and completed three tours in Iraq for two and a half years from 1999 to 2007. He threw out his back in 2007 while he was in Iraq, and has had three surgeries on it since. When he discovered he would be medically discharged from the military in October 2013, doctors recommended a therapy dog to help Harcrow cope with the experience.
"He's been there, he knows when I'm down," Harcrow said. "He comes over and he tries to lift my head up."
Harcrow was united with Cujo in February 2013 and the dog has gone everywhere with him since. He even sleeps on the end of Harcrow's recline while he recovers from his surgeries.
They had never been apart until the tragic separation this past Sunday. Harcrow gathered family and searched hours for Cujo, staying out until around 2 a.m. Monday morning.
Without Cujo, who he calls his best friend, Harcrow is home alone while his six children are at school and his girlfriend at work. He said he will never be able to repay Dr. DuBose's kindness for reuniting him with a dog that means so much to him and his family.
"He never hesitated," Harcrow said. "If you do the right thing every day and try to help out your community the best you can, it comes back to you."
Cujo's vet bill total is close to $1,800, and with Harcrow out of work while waiting for his next surgery, he said it will be difficult to pay while supporting his family on retirement funds.
If you'd like to help Harcrow pay Cujo's vet bills, you can visit http://www.gofundme.com/k5beqo to donate.