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Dog missing since severe crash on I-94 coaxed to safety by meatball

VALLEY CITY, N.D. – Thanks in part to a meatball, a dog lost near here in a crash that seriously injured the dog’s owner two weeks ago was found Saturday.   

Phillip Maxwell, 32, of Minot, is still hospitalized in Fargo following a Dec. 7 rollover crash on Interstate 94 eight miles west of Valley City.

But Tracy, his German shepherd who ran from the scene of the crash and had been spotted since but not secured, was lured into safety Saturday at a nearby farm, said Sgt. Tom Herzig of the North Dakota Highway Patrol.

Maxwell had two dogs in his Ford Excursion at the time of the crash, Tracy and Jake. Jake, a miniature pinscher, stayed near the vehicle after the crash but Tracy fled.

On Saturday morning, a man who lives on a farm about two miles northwest of the crash site spotted Tracy out his window after his own dog alerted him, Herzig said in a news release.


Tracy had been seen in the area several time previously, but Herzig had the dog was apparently too scared to approach the volunteers who were searching for him. Tracy did seem to be spending nights at a nearby barn, where they were leaving a blanket, food and water for her, Herzig previously told The Forum.

The farmer who spotted Tracy outside his window Saturday took a meatball from his sandwich and tossed in toward the dog, who devoured it, Herzig said. After that, the man was able to coax Tracy into his garage with more food.

Tracy, who appeared to be healthy, will be reunited with Jake at Valley City Veterinary Hospital, and the two will be picked up by out-of-state family in a few days, Herzig said.

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