Lifestyle & Human Interest

Dog Arrives Home Without Owner After Walk: Now Police Are Looking for Hit-and-Run Suspect


On Wednesday, the world changed for a dog named Patch. He was out for a morning walk in Madison, Tennessee, with his visually impaired owner, 50-year-old Karen Hughes, when a car hit Hughes.

The car, which police believe to be a Ford F-150, didn’t stick around. A passerby found Hughes and alerted authorities, according to WSMV-TV.

Hughes was taken to a hospital but was too far gone and pronounced dead. Police later found Patch waiting patiently outside the door to their apartment.

The dog was taken in by Metro Animal Care and Control, where he is waiting while staff try to find next of kin to see if they can take him in.

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Hughes had started attending a local church upon her arrival in Tennessee two months prior. The other churchgoers had gotten to know her and were surprised to hear of her death.

“She didn’t have any family in the state of Tennessee that we know of, so we became the family,” pastor Ray Marin said, according to WSMV.

“It’s been exciting because she needed help. … We’ve been there to help her with food, supplies, help furnish her apartment. You know when you help someone like that you get close to them quick.”

“I still can’t believe it,” he continued. “Madison is sometimes tough. We don’t have sidewalks; it would be beneficial if we did. We’ve lost church members before because of the erratic driving. I really wish people would pay attention to the signs, slow down, be a little more mindful and careful.”

Marin is also quite familiar with Patch, as he went everywhere with Hughes.

“She would come to worship and she’d bring Patch along and he’d sing along with our worship team as well,” Marin said.

Some have wondered if Patch was a service dog, but so far there’s no evidence to suggest he was anything more than Hughes’ constant companion. Most service dogs would be recognized by the organizations that train them, are of very specific breeds, and are microchipped.

Marin has offered to take the pup if no family steps forward, and several rescues have voiced their interest in helping the poor dog find a new, loving home.

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“We’re giving him lots of love and care,” said Matthew Peters with the Metro Public Health Department, according to The Tennessean.

“It’s obvious this was a traumatic experience for him … so we’re trying to give him as much time and space to decompress as we can.”

Meanwhile, police are searching for the owner of the F-150 thought to have hit Hughes.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking