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Lucky the dog and his mad dash across the LIE

A West Highland terrier who ran away from home found himself on the busy highway during the lunchtime rush. Big-hearted Long Islanders halted traffic to rescue him.

Lucky the dog survived a dash across the

Lucky the dog survived a dash across the Long Island Expressway in Brentwood during Tuesday's lunchtime rush.  Photo Credit: Brian Lane

Lucky couldn't have a more fitting name.

The lost West Highland terrier literally stopped traffic on the Long Island Expressway during Tuesday's lunchtime rush, scampering across eight lanes as stunned drivers jumped from their vehicles to corral him. 

A school bus operator and a semi driver even held traffic at bay, one on the eastbound side and one on the westbound side.

In the end, a team of animal rescuers and a host of Good Samaritans succeeded in maneuvering Lucky off the highway and getting him home to his owner, Brian Lane of Brentwood. 

"It was very scary," said Charmaine DeRosa, an animal advocate from St. James who rushed to the scene to help save Lucky. "Thank God the story had a happy ending. And that everyone's brakes worked."

The drama actually began shortly before 9 p.m. Monday, when Lane let Lucky go outside — without a leash — to do his business. But the 5-year-old rescue bolted down the block when a car passed by. 

Lane, with girlfriend Kelly Gomez and her family, searched for Lucky until midnight — with no luck. In the morning, Lane posted Lucky's disappearance on several Facebook groups dedicated to finding missing pooches.

And then Lucky's luck turned around.

Monica Passarelle and Cherie Stevens, twins from Farmingville, were on the Sagtikos Parkway near the LIE merge when they spotted Lucky around 1:45 p.m. They pulled over on the LIE service road.  

The sisters, who both work at the Smithtown Animal Shelter, tried mightily to capture the panicky pooch but had to call in reinforcements: DeRosa and Teddy Henn, who manages the Long Island Lost Dog Search & Rescue Facebook group. DeRosa had seen Lane's post about Lucky through Facebook.

Lucky seemed determined to stay on the loose — dashing from the westbound service lanes through the eastbound lanes, sneaking through a small hole in the expressway barrier and barely avoiding dozens of cars, SUVs and semis. 

"Everyone was grabbing onto one another and screaming," Stevens said. "We were so scared for him. I think I aged 10 years yesterday."

With traffic brought to a halt by the Good Samaritans, Passarelle and Stevens hustled Lucky off the highway while DeRosa and Henn waited on the service road to catch the elusive tail-wagger. 

But Lucky was not done yet, escaping into the wooded area just off the expressway.

Not to be outdone, the experienced animal rescuers guided the crafty canine into the direction of his home. DeRosa alerted Lane and Gomez to fill up their pet's food and water bowls. 

Lucky finally made his way home around 2:30 p.m., traveling about 2 miles on his fateful journey. Within moments of coming home, Lucky fell into a deep sleep from his 18-hour adventure.

Lane plans on keeping Lucky on a leash going forward and is grateful to all the Long Islanders who helped his little furry friend. 

"I can't believe so many people stopped their cars and went so far out of their way for our little guy," he said. "It's just overwhelming."

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