Marcel Martinez found poodle mix Blanca after crash. Photo via
Marcel Martinez found poodle mix Blanca after crash. Photo via Riverside County Department of Animal Services

A puppy separated from her family after they were involved in a serious rollover freeway crash in Cabazon was reunited with them, thanks to one local animal control officer.

Poodle mix Blanca was with her owners on April 4 when the family car went off the freeway, hit a tree and overturned onto Railroad Avenue, east of Main Street.

As authorities responded to the crash scene, Animal Services Officer Marcel Martinez was also called in to retrieve the now 8-week-old poodle, but was struck by a plea from one of Blanca’s owners.

“A California Highway Patrol officer told me that one of the victims was in the back of an ambulance pleading to take the dog with him to the hospital,” Martinez said. “That really stuck with me. I said to myself, man, this guy really loves his dog.”

After hearing the victim’s distress over Blanca, Martinez has personally cared for the dog until Friday’s reunion was possible. The family, who hail from Azusa, have been unable to retrieve Blanca sooner due to their vehicle being totaled in the crash.

One of her owners, Erick Rodriguez, told animal control that the family was happy to get her back, after Martinez delivered Blanca to the family’s home Friday.

Rodriguez said with the car wrecked and no other family between Azusa and Arizona, “We didn’t think we were going to get her back.”

Martinez said his work with animals provides him perspective on the bond between pets and their owners.

Martinez is also the proud owner of a formerly stray Chihuahua, whom he described as “all jacked up” when he originally adopted the dog in 2015, where it was found with one eye hanging out its socket.

“It’s easy to get jaded in this job, because we see so much bad happen to animals,” Martinez said. “But that little dog, all 3 pounds of him, changed my perspective. If he could be so happy, I could look at the bright side of things more often too.”

— City News Service

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