Kirra reunited with owner after massive pileup in Racine Co.

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RACINE CO. (WITI) -- Kirra, a six-year-old female lab/beagle mix, has been reunited with her owner on Monday, December 9th. This, after the dog spent nearly 24 hours wandering around in the cold after a terrifying car crash on Sunday.

The dog was thrown from a vehicle during Sunday's massive pileup on I-94 near Highway 20 in Racine. Kirra apparently ran away from the scene after the wreck -- and her owner had put out a plea to find her.

Around 10:30 a.m. on Monday, a Racine County Sheriff's deputy located Kirra walking on the West Frontage Road.

FOX6 News learned Kirra was immediately taken to a veterinarian to be treated for dehydration and cut paws.

Then, she was reunited with her family.

Valorie Nyenhuis' family adopted Kirra when the dog was three months old.

"She immediately fell in love with me," Nyenhuis told FOX6 News when she was reunited with the dog on Monday.

Nyenhuis says the dog was rescued after her father was diagnosed with cancer.

"She's our cancer puppy. She was the only reason he'd get out of bed. He'd get out of bed just to play with her on the floor for a couple hours, but if it weren't for her, he wouldn't have," Nyenhuis said.

Nyenhuis and Kirra were visiting her parents in Sturtevant on Sunday when Nyenhuis decided to head home to Madison before the snow got too bad.

"We got on the interstate from Highway 20. People started slamming on their brakes. I got hit by a semi and I think two other cars," Nyenhuis said.

That's when she realized Kirra was gone.

"Immediately started looking for her and she wasn't there. I don't know if she got thrown from the car or if she jumped," Nyenhuis said.

Nyenhuis was taken to the hospital by ambulance, where she was treated for a concussion.

"All I kept telling the nurses was 'my dog's missing out there. I don't know where she is,'" Nyenhuis said.

Nyenhuis' mother says her husband walked along the interstate on Sunday, asking people in stopped cars whether they had spotted the dog.

"It was like she vanished," Nyenhuis said.

Friends and strangers helped to spread the word of the dog's disappearance on social media, but after searching late into the night on Sunday there was still no sign of Kirra.

"I didn't sleep much last night. It was rough," Nyenhuis said.

Then on Monday morning, Nyenhuis got a call. Kirra had been found!

"Can't even begin to describe how blessed we are. We both had a guardian angel watching over us," Nyenhuis said.

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22 comments

  • Whitney

    This poor dog was LITERALLY the first thing I thought of when I stepped outside to head to work today. This poor, helpless animal that was relying on you to ensure her safety. I could hardly bare the cold wind whipping drifting snow at my face..let alone begging stuck in it all night. Thank god she was found. Next time, put your own needs aside. If she means so much to you, show it. Idc that you got hit by a semi- because all I see here is that you choose to drive in it, I am sure your parents wouldn’t have minded the company. Shame on you and think long and hard next time. Amor down.

    • LeeMrk

      Wow, dude! Take a deep breath! Yes, the dog was in tough circumstances but it wasn’t like her person/people didn’t care; they were looking for her, and a concussion is nothing to mess with. Way to be supportive and happy for the dog being reunited with her owners–NOT

    • Sheila Pottenger

      I’m just thinking a seat restraint would have saved everyone’s nerves. I ceased 1 January 2011 with my little guy tucked in my jacket. Thankfully airbags did not deploy Now he has a car seat with restraint!! Hope you never have another accident but if so I hope your baby is better restrained and you are not injured. Hugs to Kirra

      • Sheila Pottenger

        I’m just thinking a seat restraint would have saved everyone’s nerves. I crashed 1 January 2011 with my little guy tucked in my jacket. Thankfully airbags did not deploy Now he has a car seat with restraint!! Hope you never have another accident but if so I hope your baby is better restrained and you are not injured. Hugs to Kirra

  • Jennifer

    Glad the dog is safe and home! To those providing lectures, really? A crate doesn’t ensure safety in a wreck. Pets escape crates at the airport all the time because of damage to the crate in handling. And I can’t believe the person blaming the victim for being hit by other cars. Staying put is not always an option, don’t judge!

  • jane smith

    This truly was a miracle. Just that fact that Kirra survived the night in the bitter cold and this morning with the terrible wind, that coyotes didn’t get her, that she was not hit by a car, or not found frozen to death. Many people were praying for Kirra, including my family, friends, and myself. God answers pray. Praise the Lord! Also, thank you to the Racine county deputy who found Kirra. You are awesome!

  • Beverly Brown

    Please either crate or harness your pet when traveling-it can save a life. A few years ago the rear window control was disengaged(we didn’t realize it) on our car and while on the interstate our dog stepped on the switch and opened the window-before I could grab him he was leaning way out the window. Our small dogs travel in a dog car seat and harnesses attaching them to the safety belt. That saved our youngest one’s life as it prevented him from falling out the window!

  • Randy

    Someone should thank the Deputy for finding the dog before she froze. Thank you Deputy, I’m sure you were happy to reunite her with the owner.

  • India

    I’m so happy and soo glad that Kirra is back home safely.. Thank you for all the people who’s help found Kirra.

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