Want to play? Pet parent D.J. says he doubts Verdandi will grow out of her puppyhood, despite her rough start.

Verdandi has reason to celebrate—she’s found her forever home after being abandoned along the highway. Her pet parents credit Verdandi’s horseshoe marking with bringing her good luck.

Verdandi, a black and white pit-bull mix, and her pet parents’ other dogs enjoy romping together. Big brother Grant, far right, lost one of his legs after being bitten by a rattlesnake and running into the street. Pet parents D.J. and Bella rescued all three dogs and made sure they got the medical treatment they needed following their ordeals.

Our customers often go the extra mile for their dogs and cats. For one man who recently wrote to us, that’s literally true. The open road has delivered three lucky dogs into the loving home of retiree D.J. and his wife Bella.*

D.J., who frequently drives far from home, was on a highway when a car traveling in the opposite direction swerved, startling him. The car cut back, but D.J.’s attention snapped into focus. On the side of the road, he noticed a black and white object rolling on the ground. He knew he had to stop.

He walked back to the spot and saw a small, black and white Pit Bull puppy. "I waited long enough to make sure she was still breathing, picked her up, and carried her to the truck," he said.

D.J. and Bella were already parents of multiple pets. At home, they had several mixed breed dogs, including two who had endured hardships as strays. One rescued dog had suffered from cancer, but died as a member of their family. To console their first dog, D.J. and Bella adopted another tough pup—an amputee who had survived a rattlesnake bite only to lose a leg in a truck accident.

Though they already had dogs, as well as a cat, D.J. was determined to make room for one more. When he saw the puppy—later named Verdandi—on the side of the highway, he knew his pet family would have to grow bigger.

"I fully believe I was meant to save this dog," D.J. told us. "If I was 15 seconds earlier or later I never would have seen it."

After feeding the severely injured puppy, D.J. called Bella, who was at home, to tell her to prepare herself for another puppy. Bella was reluctant, but D.J. was insistent.

Driving away from the scene, D.J. could tell Verdandi’s condition was critical. He believes the dog was injured when a motorist tossed her from a vehicle.

"I stopped about 100 miles up the road and carried her out of the truck so she could potty, but her back end was too broken for her to stand up," D.J. said.

When he got home, D.J. took the dog to a veterinarian, who said Verdandi had a broken leg and dislocated hip. The doctor wrapped the bad leg in a splint and sent the dog home. Unfortunately, the puppy fell ill with parvovirus soon after her initial visit with the veterinarian. Still, the puppy fought on.

Now happy and healthy, Verdandi is enjoying life with D.J. and Bella’s other animal rescues. The horseshoe marking on her back might be one reason she’s survived her road journey—the animals who have found their way to D.J. and Bella’s home certainly are lucky!

"I don't know why we found her, but we have to believe we were meant to have her," D.J. said.

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Customer Stories


As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, an 8-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.