(Photo by Michael Fischer)
Driving south of Spencer on Highway 71, keep your eyes peeled, you just might capture sight of a "furry friend" running alongside your car in the fields.
A German shepherd, residing under the bridge across the street from Mark and Robyn Larson's residence, managed to survive the winter and continues to look healthy.
When winter approached, the dog moved to the bridge across the street from the Larsons. Surprisingly, Robyn said that throughout the winter, the German shepherd appeared to get healthier.
"I can't tell you how many nice people we have met who have stopped at our house to tell us our dog is by the road," she said. "Many people would love to adopt her and take her home but she's too fast and she's scared to death."
Robyn said the Larsons would like to take the German shepherd in too, but she emphasized, no one can get close to the dog. She said that her and her husband have thought about naming her either Phantom -- because one day she will be there and the next, not -- or Bridgette -- because she lives under a bridge. The Larsons also joked that they feel like they have the best of both worlds because it's like having a dog they can watch from a distance and not worry about having in the house.
Robyn noted a peculiar habit the dog has suggesting it might offer some insight as to where she came from.
"She generally appears intelligent. The only time she goes near the road is if certain cars drive by, she will lunge after them," Robyn said. "It's only certain cars, as if she is waiting for someone in that vehicle."
According to the neighboring homeowner around the same time that the German shepherd showed up, a terrible car accident took place right by the bridge. Her theory is that the dog may have been in the car with the people who were badly injured. She was scared so she took off when help came.
"She's quite the survivor," Robyn said. "Every once in a while she will be gone for a week or two and then one day I will just see her again...People leave her food as they drive by and we leave a pail of dog food for her sometimes. Just two days ago someone brought us a huge thing of dog food for her. People will drive by on their way to and from work and look for her and it's like everyone has adopted her."
The Larsons and other neighbors like Dr. Mark Reese, have tried to find a solution, but each option they consider seems dangerous to the dog who has caused no harm. Mark has attempted to get close to her twice and said she takes off like a "shot" if he gets anywhere near her.
"Although people have suggested it, I'm not going to try to sedate her because that may lead to a bad ending. There is no logical solution," the doctor said. "She's not hurting anything and seems too smart to get close to a car. She's happy there."