Family reunited with their dog after serious crash on Interstate 81

Published: Nov. 21, 2018 at 5:29 PM EST
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Rudolph Damm, Joan Damm, and their 2-year-old yellow lab, Charlie, were traveling home to New York Monday night when they got into a serious crash on Interstate 81.

The crash happened at mile marker 256, near the exit for Mauzy, Broadway and Timberville. The Damm's car was totaled.

As rescue personnel responded to the scene, the family's dog, Charlie, jumped out of the car and disappeared.

"We wound up going to the hospital and were released with minor injuries," Rudolph Damm said. "But immediately we had to start looking for our dog."

The family posted about the missing dog on Facebook, and over 5,000 people shared it.

"We found an amazing number of volunteers. They just come out of the hills and helped us," said Damm. "It was a godsend, and they did it for two days."

Volunteers scoured the median on the interstate looking for Charlie. A volunteer made a dog trap with food and the owners' clothing at mile marker 254, and the search for Charlie became a community effort.

"We prayed and had several Hail Marys," Joan Damm said. "Then we got a call from highway patrol. They had been looking for her, too, and they found her by mile marker 256. Right where the accident happened."

After three days of searching, the New Yorkers say they are thankful to have their family back together again for the holidays.

"Thank you to the people of Virginia. We love Virginia. It is a state for lovers," Rudolph Damm said. "The turnout here and the volunteers are just beyond description."