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Couple reunites lost dogs with owner

Dec. 26, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- A couple of animal lovers made Christmas extra special for a local family who had been missing their dogs for two days.

Chasten and Jaye Toler of Huntington were driving in the construction zone on Interstate 64, on their way to a Christmas gathering in Eleanor, when they spotted two beagles walking by the concrete barriers inches away from passing cars.

"My wife thought she saw a deer on the road, but it was two dogs," Chasten said. "They were walking against traffic and if anyone would have strayed over the line a bit, they would have been hit."

Unable to pull over right away because of the construction zone, Chasten found an opening about 200 yards ahead and stopped their vehicle. He ran back to the dogs, which he said were visibly shaken.

"I tried to get them to walk with me, but they wouldn't, so I carried them to the car," Chasten said. "They were freezing and cuddled up in the car."

A quick check of the dogs' collars produced the name and phone number of their owner -- Greg Toppins, who lives a couple miles away on Mount Union Road.

"My son (Chase), he has been worried to death about losing them," Toppins said. "He had been looking for them hard, driving around and talking to people. He made a couple trips a day."

Toppins said his 18-year-old son had let the dogs out to run on Monday, but they never returned home.

"When they called, that made his day. That was the best Christmas present," he said. "It tickled him to death to get them back."

Toppins said he is thankful the Tolers stopped for his dogs, especially given how dangerous the interstate can be.

"I couldn't thank them enough," he said. "The way they were talking, they wouldn't have made it out of the interstate alive if they wouldn't have stopped and caught them. We're real appreciative that they would stop."

For the Tolers, it was a no-brainer to rescue the dogs.

"We both love animals. We both care about animals a lot and have a passion for it," said Chasten, who works at the Huntington Area Food Bank. "I hope this situation makes people more aware of what's on the road so they can keep an eye out for it."



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