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Loose dog rescued just inches from rush hour along I-70 in Denver, will be available for adoption soon

The Belgian Malinois had reportedly been running around for hours before Alyssa Boeh found her
dog on I-70 rescue
Posted at 12:48 PM, May 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-26 11:09:09-04

DENVER — A loose and frightened dog just inches from Interstate 70 in Denver was rescued thanks to an animal protection officer's patience and passion.

On the afternoon of May 17, somebody reported that a German shepherd-like dog had been running loose around W. 48th Drive and Tennyson Street, near Berkeley Lake, for about seven hours.

Loose dog rescued just inches from rush hour along I-70 in Denver

Alyssa Boeh, an animal protection officer with the City of Denver, responded to the call. She knew the location meant the dog was close to the interstate, so she said she gave it higher priority.

When she pulled up to the area, she spotted the dog, which was actually a Belgian Malinois, standing on top of the 5- or 6-foot-tall retaining wall that separates W. 48th Avenue, a frontage road, and Interstate 70.

dog on I-70 rescue

It was 4 p.m. — rush hour. Traffic was building.

"It was kind of standing up there, basically in between traffic and the road," Boeh said. "And so I approached really slowly because I didn't want the dog to jump the other way and run away from me, which would have been into traffic on I-70."

The dog, a female, was thin, but not emaciated, and didn't seem injured. Boeh looked for a collar, but didn't see one. The dog was skittish and seemed wary of her.

But Boeh had something enticing. Something almost irresistible to a hungry dog.

Wet cat food.

Loose dog rescued just inches from rush hour along I-70 in Denver

"(It) works well because it's pretty stinky and smells good to them," Boeh said. "So I had walked up really slowly, like crouching down to make myself not seem scary, and just kind of reading her... I couldn't just walk right up to her and put the leash on her because I think she wouldn't have liked that. We had to become friends first."

The dog jumped off the wall and started to bark. But Boeh, with her expertise, could see the dog wasn't being aggressive or trying to bite her.

"It was just all reactivity out of fear," she said.

She tossed cat food to the dog, which snapped up the morsels. Over the course of about an hour and a half, she helped the dog feel more comfortable with her presence, eventually throwing both food and the end of a leash toward the dog.

"And I, eventually, was able to hold some food and have her eat through my hand," Boeh said. "And then I held some food in my hand and held the leash in a loop so that she had to put her head through the loop in order to get to the food."

Boeh led the dog to her vehicle and loaded her into a crate.

Alyssa Boeh, animal protection officer
Alyssa Boeh, animal protection officer, with the dog she rescued on May 17, 2023.

"I was very happy and relieved once I did catch her because the entire time I was just very stressed and worried that she would go the other direction and possibly get hit by a car or cause an accident," she said.

She scanned the dog for a microchip but couldn't find one, so she brought the dog to the Denver Animal Shelter for a veterinarian examination.

The shelter put her photo on its website in hopes of identifying her owner. As of Wednesday morning, nobody had claimed her.

The dog, now known as Petal, will be available for adoption soon. Her ID on the shelter's website is ID#A386040. Anybody who is interested in adopting her can place a $20 non-refundable hold on her. Before applying, possible adopters should understand that Belgian Malinois often do best with owners who are familiar with the breed and their needs for exercise. Click here to learn more about the breed from the American Kennel Club's website.

Denver Animal Protection has many other animals available for adoption. Every year, it serves as a temporary home for more than 6,000 lost and abandoned pets.

You can see their full list of adoptable dogs and cats here. In addition, its staff works to reunite lost pets — including currently 134 dogs and 81 cats — with their humans, helps owners with pet licensing and vaccinations, and offers resources for training and support.

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