Reunion after tragedy: Dog returned to woman following deadly crash

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Tuesday marks a bright spot for Melanie Garcia after she got a heartwarming reunion during a heartbreaking time. Although not married, Melanie called Kevin Barton her husband.

Barton and their three dogs were picking up dinner Saturday night when a suspected drunk driver slammed into them at Montgomery and Morris. Barton was killed and two of the dogs were taken to Route 66 Veterinary Emergency Center but Otis, the third dog, ran away after the crash and for nearly three days no one knew where he was.

“I thought maybe he got hurt really bad and he just laid somewhere. I was just having these thoughts then I kept telling myself I’ve got to think positive and pray to Kevin and tell him to bring our son home,” said Garcia.

For nearly three days Garcia pleaded with the community for help finding Otis as missing posters filled social media. On Tuesday morning, a PNM worker spotted Otis laying on rocks behind the Turning Point Recovery Center not far from the crash site.

“When I saw him I saw his bright eyes. I just ran to him and I just got down and picked him up with a blanket and helped him and kissed him so much I’m so grateful he was found,” said Garcia.

Garcia says she was relieved to hear the news and immediately went to pick him up calling him by his nickname the moment she saw him.

“His nickname was ‘Mamas’ because he was mama’s boy, so I said ‘Mamas’ and he looked up and his bright black eyes, his eyes were so just round he just looked at me, he didn’t wag his tail he didn’t do anything he looked like he was relieved to see us,” Garcia said.


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Otis was in good shape considering, but does have an injured leg which adds to the growing list of vet bills for all three dogs.

“He has an injured leg. They thought it was a broken leg but it’s something serious. He’s going to need surgery. We set up a GoFundMe page online to help with the vet bills and same with Koda and Milo they are going to need assistance as well,” Garcia said.

Garcia says she is beyond thankful for the PNM worker and is glad Otis will soon be reunited with the family’s other dogs. A GoFundMe link has been set up to help cover the three dog’s vet bills.

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