When Lucas Cardona’s semi-trailer flipped as he was taking a curve onto the westbound Indiana Toll Road, his first thought wasn’t about whether he was OK, or the fate of his truck and his career. It was about Finn, his traveling companion, a 6-month-old Dalmatian/Labrador/St. Bernard mix. Finn was in the sleeper cab when the rig flipped. Cardona called for him, and he didn’t come. Cardona started digging through the pillows and cushions in the cab. He found Finn, scared, and reached to pull him out, but rescuers had broken out the windshield of the truck to get to Cardona. Once the dog saw daylight, he took off. Finn started for the highway, turned around, and went under a guardrail and to a tree line.

… What followed was a four-day search, led by Mary Esserman, an EMS paramedic who responded to the crash and also works part-time as a kennel assistant at an animal hospital. Multiple local agencies and members of the community who pitched in to find Finn. With the help of hot dogs, a T-shirt and other items that held Cardona’s scent, and his voice calling to Finn over Esserman’s cellphone, she was able to coax him to safety. Saturday Finn and Cardona were reunited.


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