Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man Drives 2,800 Miles To Save Pit Bull from Being Euthanized


No matter how many dogs you come across in your life, each one is unique. Some people have once-in-a-lifetime pups that bond with them more than any other dog and it’s doubly hard to see those ones go.

There’s joy in bringing in a new four-legged family member, though we know we can’t replace the old ones. Sometimes, though, our new pets will have a spark of something familiar that makes us certain they’re meant to be ours.

Mario Rodriguez of Georgia had lost his beloved pit bull named King, and it was weighing on him.

“It felt like a part of my soul left with him,” he told The Dodo. “I couldn’t save him, but I’m gonna save a couple for him.”

Rodriguez is a truck driver, and as he was making a delivery to California, his wife sent him a link to an adoptable dog that looked a lot like his beloved former pit bull terrier. This guy was named Hickory, and Rodriguez knew immediately that Hickory was meant for him.

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“Everyone in our family grew up with the breed, and we raised our kids with the breed as well,” he said. “They are such lovebugs. Looking at Hickory’s picture, I could tell he just wanted to be loved.”

“I told my wife, ‘I need to go get him. I’m on a mission to rescue this dog.'”

That mission intensified when Rodriguez saw that Hickory could be in danger of being euthanized.

Would you drive across the country to rescue a pet?

The only thing standing between Hickory and Rodriguez was 2,800 miles. Hickory was in a shelter in New York, so Rodriguez got a delivery headed that way and took off.

He was worried that the shelter wouldn’t keep Hickory for him and was so nervous that he called constantly to ensure they were holding on to the dog for him. They started to recognize his number and every time he called, they reassured him that Hickory was still there, waiting for him.

It took Rodriguez six days to get to Hickory, but when he got there and parked, everyone knew who he was and they led him straight to Hickory, who looked like he’d been waiting.

“I parked my truck and rushed inside,” the truck driver said. “As soon as Hickory saw me, he literally almost jumped through the kennel door. I said, ‘That’s it, buddy! We’re going home!’ He started wagging his tail going crazy. He immediately started jumping on me, licking my face.”

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“It just looked like he was expecting me. It was so weird. We had an instant connection. I’ve never had a dog get attached to me that quickly in my whole life.”

Not only were Rodriguez and Hickory a great fit, Hickory fit in with the canines and humans at home like he was a missing piece of the family puzzle.

“They immediately just started playing like three little kids,” Rodriguez said of Hickory and his other two pits, Angel and Cooper. “It was a sight to see.”

Now, Hickory lives the good life. Far from the potential of being euthanized, he’s looking out windows and experiencing the United States instead of the inside of a crate or kennel. As Rodriguez’s copilot, Hickory gets to go on all sorts of adventures and share smiles and doggy hugs with everyone he meets.

“He’s seeing so many things he’s never experienced before. We’ve stopped off places all the time, like to the park, or to farms out west where he’s met some horses,” Rodriguez said. “He’s barked at cows on our way down the highways … He’s really having fun.”

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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