Donna Lochmann didn’t know how the young pit bull she was called to rescue would react to her presence. She knew the dog was in danger since he was wandering so close to a major freeway, but she didn’t want to make it worse by startling him and causing him to run.
“If he would’ve gotten spooked and ran, he would’ve ended up right on the highway,” Lochmann, Stray Rescue of St. Louis’ chief life saving officer, told The Dodo. “We never want these guys on the highway, for sure.”
Lochmann responded to the call about a black-and-white dog walking near a highway entrance ramp as soon as it came in. Not only was the dog at risk because of his location, but it was also extremely cold out — too cold for a dog to be outside for an extended period of time.
When Lochmann got there, she found the pup cold and afraid, huddled against a chain-link fence with cars speeding by him.
The rescuer had to work quickly. She carefully walked towards the dog, assessing his reaction with each step, and was surprised to find that he was just as happy to see her as she was to see him.
“When I got closer to him, I knelt down a little bit so that he wasn’t intimidated,” Lochmann said. “But he was actually really friendly.”
Instead of running away, the dog inched his head forward and started sniffing Lochmann. As soon as he knew he was safe, he rolled over for immediate belly rubs.
The pup was shivering, but — for the first time since Lochmann spotted him — his tail wagged with delight.
Lochmann wrapped her arms around the pup and showered him with cuddles before they headed back to the Jeep.
“He let me pet him right away,” Lochmann said. “He was very sweet.”
Inspired by the semi-trailer trucks driving past them, Lochmann decided to name the affectionate pup Peterbilt.
Once they were in the car, Lochmann talked to Perterbilt to calm his nerves and gave him more reassuring pats on the head.
The rescuer isn’t sure how Peterbilt got to the highway entrance ramp, but she could tell by his reactions that he was used to human interaction.
“He definitely wasn’t unfamiliar with human touch,” Lochmann said. “Somebody had him but just really didn’t take good care of him.”
Luckily, Peterbilt’s days of looking for the right kind of love were officially behind him. As soon as they got to the vet clinic, Peterbilt’s new friends looked him over and gave him a clean bill of health. He was officially ready for foster care.
Before long, Peterbilt found the loving foster home he’d always needed. Before he left Stray Rescue of St. Louis, he kissed every staff member goodbye one last time. Then, he headed out to start his new life.
Peterbilt is currently loving life in his new foster home, but the affectionate pup is still looking for the perfect forever home. He loves curling up on his bed for a cozy nap and going on walks with his people while he waits.
Because Peterbilt has such a special personality, Lochmann knows that someone is going to fall in love with him soon, and he’s going to love them right back.
“He’s gonna fit right into someone’s family,” Lochmann said. “He’ll do great as somebody’s family member.”