It may sound cliche, but Kassie McKeown can only describe what happened to her as a Christmas Eve miracle.
Twenty-eight-year-old McKeown was on her way from Peterborough to Alderville when a collision happened with another vehicle at Lew Harris Road and County Road 9 (Oak Ridges Drive) in Hamilton Township at approximately 4:40 p.m.
“I was almost home and all I remember is headlights in my window,” McKeown said to Today’s Northumberland speaking about the collision on Christmas.
“I remember coming too and realizing I’d been in a accident and didn’t know where my dog was.”
McKeown got Stanley, nine-months ago as a rescue dog and they’ve been best friends since.
It was a devastating crash that tore the front end off of her car. McKeown’s vehicle was sent spinning into the ditch along with the other vehicle.
The front end of her car was heavily damaged and both her driver’s side window and rear window were broken.
At first she didn’t think she went unconscious, but after realizing she didn’t know how her dong, Stanley, got out she must have been for a short period of time.
Stanley was in the front seat when the collision happened because McKeown had her vehicle filled with presents to be wrapped.
“The only way he could have got out was to go across me.”
McKeown checked herself to make sure she was ok, then all attention went to finding Stanley.
“Originally I thought he had been tossed from the vehicle. I was thinking the worst. I was scared to look and when I did look, he wasn’t there.
Some of the people that were driving first spotted Stanley running across the road. It’s only when they pulled over did they notice the two vehicles in the ditch.
“I said, “I’m ok but have you seen my dog?” That was my main concerns.”
It seems Stanley knew what to do more than anyone – running to the nearest house approximately 1/4 of a kilometre away.
But McKeown and others didn’t know that and a major search commenced for a strangers dog, while the people who had Stanley, tried to reunite him with whoever the owner was.
McKeown was taken away by ambulance, but her mother posted on Facebook.
“URGENT! My daughter has been in an accident on county road 9 and Lee Harris road. Her dog Stanny was with her in the car. Stanny is missing and not on scene. This is what he looks like. He is shy and may be hurt. We are out looking for him now,” and the post gave the cell phone number of who to contact.
McKeown said the posted was shared almost 900 times and there were approximately 100 comment.
People came from all around the community to help in the search for a strangers dog on Christmas Eve.
Some brought thermal imaging devices while others brought drones and even tracking dogs.
“As I was in the hospital just waiting to be checked out – I was so scared, so worried about Stanley and I didn’t know if he was alive, I didn’t know if he’d be ok, I didn’t know if he was going to get hit on the road because it was so foggy.”
“It made me feel overwhelmed with gratitude that there was so many people out there looking for him because that was my main concern. I was absolutely terrified.”
Everyone tried to reassure McKeown that Stanley would likely be found.
In the end the house that Stanley went too, the search, along with emergency services and the post by McKeown’s family connected and Stanley was returned within a few hours.
It appears the only injury the dog sustained was a scratch on his face, likely from exiting through the window.
McKeown was overjoyed upon hearing the good news that Stanley had been found while she was waiting at the hospital.
Even strangers came up to her after recognizing that it was her dog that was missing and telling her the good news.
“It’s cheesy, but it is like a Christmas miracle that we survived.”
If the collision would have happened less that a second after it did, the brunt of the impact would have been on McKeown’s door.
Like many others around McKeown said the support of strangers coming to help in a time of need.
“My faith has been restored in humanity and community. Everybody came around me – a complete stranger to these people. We all love Rice Lake, it was in the Rice Lake (Facebook) group and everybody came out with all the tools and resources they had – for a strangers dog.”
“Thank you, thank you so, so much, I’m grateful. You gave me so much comfort while I was in the hospital. I just wanted to be there to look for him.”
“I’ll be forever grateful.”
McKeown said she learned something about Stanley as well.
“He’s a lot smarter than I thought he was because he did run to the closest house.”