When Marvin Cecil, a 31-year trucking veteran from Ironton, Ohio, lost his dog, B.A., he lost his favorite trucking companion.
“He’s a great deal of comfort, a great deal of security for me,” Cecil said about the 5-year old pit bull mix, which had been riding shotgun with him for four and a half years, providing both companionship and protection. “I get in some serious areas at times in these trucks. With him in the truck, I don’t even lock it.”
Cecil, an owner-operator leased to Kuntzman Trucking, lost his dog on Oct. 31 in Winston-Salem, N.C., after delivering a load to a mall there. After swerving to avoid getting into an accident with another car in the parking lot, Cecil hit a light pole, causing $26,000 worth of damage to his 2003 Freightliner Classic XL.
When he got out of the truck to survey the damage, B.A., shaken up by the incident, jumped out of the open window. When Cecil saw him in a corner of the parking lot and started calling his name, the dog started to run away because he thought he was in trouble, Cecil said.
For the next couple of days, the trucker traveled about 150 miles in a one-square-mile radius looking for his dog. B.A. was gone for three weeks before Cecil got word that he had wandered into a neighborhood southwest of Winston-Salem, where he had been taken in by Janet English and her son, C.J.
A neighbor who saw B.A. started doing research on the Internet and saw Cecil’s missing dog listing on the Forsythe County Animal Control website. The neighbor then contacted Lassie Come Home, an organization that works to reunite owners in the area with their missing dogs. It was another week before Cecil could get back to the area and pick up B.A.
“For four weeks, I was lost,” Cecil said. “I didn’t do my paperwork like I should. I couldn’t bring myself to clean the truck.” He said he even lost 10 pounds the first week that B.A. was gone. “I had no desire to eat. Everything I eat he has to have a bite of, so everything I ate reminded me of him.”
Cecil said he plans to have a GPS chip implanted under B.A.’s skin so he can locate him if he ever gets lost again. He also plans to make a donation to Lassie Come Home for the organization’s efforts in returning B.A. to him safely.
He said he tried to pay English, who put her own dog in the garage and let B.A. have the run of the house, but she wouldn’t accept it. “To me losing my dog was like losing a child,” Cecil said. “Christmas for me has already come. My dog and his safe return mean the world to me.”