A group of residents in rural Paso Robles on Monday helped reunite a beloved dog with her Monterey family after she escaped from her owners' vehicle during a car crash.
Sophie — a Chihuahua mix with perky ears and a black and tan coat — went missing following the crash on the Highway 46 East off-ramp in Paso Robles on Thursday morning.
Lindsay Beery and her daughter, Olivia, were exiting northbound Highway 101 when their vehicle was rear-ended on the off-ramp, causing it to crash into the vehicle in front, according to Officer Pat Seebart, a spokesman for the CHP's Templeton office.
Sophie escaped from the crash, while Olivia Beery sustained serious injuries and was taken to the hospital.
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Soon after, a group of area neighbors mobilized to help search for the dog, passing out fliers and combing an area north and west of the crash site.
Searchers created a "Find Sophie" Facebook group, where nearly 600 members tracked sightings and created a perimeter around the area.
On Monday, about five days after Sophie went missing, the dog wandered into a garage in west Paso Robles, according to Lonnie Marcum, who helped with the search.
"The thought of this little dog surviving at at nighttime was just heart-wrenching," Marcum said. "It was just a huge community outpouring."
Lisa Long, Beery's mother, came to collect Sophie on Monday and take her to Fresno, where Olivia was preparing for oral surgery.
North County Animal Hospital in Paso Robles provided Sophie with a free checkup, and she was reunited with her owners on Monday night.
"They are thrilled and grateful to have Sophie back with Olivia," Long said via Facebook.
Marcum said Paso Robles neighbors were pleased to have helped a family in need.
"It was a happy ending," she said. "That's the best part."