This is a story that begins and ends with tears.
A nurse with a Dayton connection lost a beloved dog in an auto accident on a Virginia highway. This emotionally wrenching adventure began, as many of them do, with a journey.
Rosina Fadul, a traveling registered nurse working for a staffing company, had been working at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton and was on her way back to her South Carolina home on June 20 when she briefly nodded off on Interstate 81 in the Wytheville, Va. area.
What happened next happened very quickly — and it had profound emotional ramifications for the 26-year-old nurse.
The fatigued Fadul woke up behind the wheel just before she was able to direct her spinning vehicle into a interstate guardrail instead of opposing traffic.
In the seconds immediately afterward, amid the smoke and powder of exploding airbags, she took stock — and found that two of her three dogs with whom she had been traveling were missing from her wrecked car.
“I thought, ‘Oh my god, the dogs,’” she told this news outlet in a phone interview Saturday.
A passing motorist stopping to help her was able to find one of the missing dogs, named Will.
But a second — Roxy — remained missing.
For eight days, Fadul and friends endlessly searched the area for Roxy, leaving fliers on the doors of area homes, hiking through woods, working social media, driving regional roads.
According to an account on the SWVA Today website, area farmers allowed Fadul to search on private property where hills gave her a good vantage point to scan surrounding countryside.
“We got up every morning at 6 a.m. and we started driving around looking for Roxy,” she told the Virginia newspaper. “We would literally drive everywhere, walk through woods and put out nearly 300 flyers.”
Almost immediately after the accident, Fadul shared her story, with photos, on Facebook, which strangers and newfound friends shared some 7,000 times, distributing photos of lost Roxy.
“Blessed to be alive with small cuts and bruises but I feel dead… I’d rather (have) physical pain over emotional pain any day,” she wrote in a June 20 Facebook post, with a photo of her wrecked car. “Roxy ran off after the wreck & has not been found. Not sure if she’s injured. Will and Lilly each have an injury to their leg. Please pray that we find my Roxy girl and she is safe. My heart is hurting so much guys!!”
Eight days later, Fadul’s blend of good luck and hard work paid off.
When a passing motorist traveling from Roanoke spotted a dog she thought might have been Roxy on Thursday morning, she called Fadul, who was still in the area with a brother and a friend.
“She said, ‘I saw Roxy. I’ll tell you where I saw her,’” Fadul recalled.
Fadul responded nearly right away. She searched the area, to no immediate avail.
“Of course, I get there,” she said. “And there’s no sighting of my dog.”
Discouraged and weary, she decided to distribute a few more flyers in the area where Roxy had been spotted Thursday morning. She had been missing work, and she knew that she couldn’t stay in Virginia forever. It would be time to move on soon.
“I had 20 flyers left, I’m going to put flyers by the houses,” she told herself.
That Thursday morning, after the most recent sighting, she stopped by two homes she had not yet visited, parked her car and started leaving flyers on door handles.
Nearby, she thought she heard a small animal walking on some pebbles.
When she turned, Roxy was there, behind her, “staring at me.”
Said Fadul: “I thought my mind was playing tricks.”
As she told this news outlet: “I see her moving and wagging her tail, and I was like, ‘You have to be kidding me.’”
Roxy jumped into her arms and started licking her, she said.
“I couldn’t even cry,” Fadul said. “I had cried so much over the past few days, I felt like there were no more tears.”
The reunion happened barely two miles from the site of the interstate accident.
Fadul was beyond happy. Her dogs go with her when she travels for work.
“My dogs are my family, and they come with me. Those dogs are my babies, you know?” she said.
In the past 48 hours, Fadul had Roxy checked out by a veterinarian at Med-Vet in Moraine. The dog lost about six pounds and suffered a tick infestation, but she’s essentially healthy, Fadul is happy to report.
Fadul is still working at Good Samaritan and has signed for three more weeks until the hospital closes.
But the important thing is: Her family is once again intact.
“I’ve got my baby,” Fadul said. “I keep telling people, Roxy found me.”