Left frightened and shivering atop a concrete center divider along a busy Bay Area freeway, a 2-year-old Chihuahua is recuperating and starting to "come out of her shell" after being rescued by a California Highway Patrol officer.
The Chihuahua was found about 6 p.m. Friday huddled on top of the concrete divider on Interstate 680 near North Main Street in Walnut Creek, and was lured into the arms of the officer with a protein bar he had in his patrol car, CHP Officer John Fransen said.
Photos of the officer coaxing the dog to come closer made the social media rounds over the weekend.
"There is no way that little puppy would be able to get out there on its own," Fransen said.
The Chihuahua was turned over to animal control officials, who have been keeping a close eye on its condition over the weekend.
While the pooch was not injured, it appeared to be frazzled and "extremely scared" by the ordeal, according to Contra Costa Animal Services. Technicians worked Sunday on socializing the Chihuahua to "overcome her fear" following the traumatic experience.
An animal control official told KRON 4 the Chihuahua wasn't micro-chipped and didn't have a collar or tag.
The animal shelter, meanwhile, has been flooded with requests from families seeking to adopt the small dog, including a witness who spotted and reported the dog to the CHP, according to the Contra Costa shelter.
The Chihuahua must be held for at least five days before it's adopted.
It's the sort of happy ending other animals in similar situations don't often get.
It is not uncommon for CHP officers to find dogs and kittens dumped along the center median, Fransen said. But sometimes, the officers are too late.
"They don't always have a fighting chance," Fransen said.
CHP officers have had to chase chickens, goats and even llamas off the highway, he added.
CHP officials are still looking for the Chihuahua's owner, which Fransen said could face animal cruelty charges.
Anyone with information about the dog or its owner is urged to call the Contra Costa CHP office at (925) 646-4980.