Missing Arizona dog finds his way to Livonia; soon to be reunited with owner

Livingston County, N.Y. - If dogs could talk, a German Shepherd that wound up in Livonia would have quite the story to tell about cross-country journey.

Max is an 82 pound dog who is sweet and loves people.

"He is 82 pounds of love. He's the cutest thing," said Tonja Hynes, group work leader at Perry Veterinary Clinic in Livonia.

He's at the clinic by luck - or, some say, fate.

"I do believe everything happens for a reason," said Hynes.

On Tuesday, she was on her way to work when she noticed Max just sitting in the middle Route 20A in Livonia.

"All I could see when I looked up the hill was his black silhouette, and I’m like, 'Is that a deer?' Then I saw, like, one thing sticking up and the other one down, and I’m like, 'That's not a deer, because he's big.'"

She got him out of the road and knocked on several doors to see if he belonged to a nearby neighbor. But nobody came forward.

Max has a microchip, which led Hynes to his owner.

"The microchip representative told me that our dog Max had been found,” said Janet Escarcega. "My heart just dropped."

Escarega called Hynes that day.

"Come to find out she's in Arizona," said Hynes. "I was like, 'Well, Janet, I'm in New York. I don't know this dog got here.'"

Hynes and Escarcega swapped pictures and information. Max had gone missing from Escarcega's yard September 2016. He was a Christmas gift for her son.

"I really bonded with him really well,” said Nathan Escarcega, “I was pretty heartbroken when he left. I just miss him so much and can't wait until he gets home."

Hynes and Livingston County Sheriff’s deputies still doesn't know how Max got all the way here from Arizona to Livonia. But they are working on a plan to get him back home, and are seeking donations for an airline-approved crate.

The union that represents road patrol deputies plan to pay for a portion of Max's flight home.

Escarcega is grateful.

"Now that we'll soon be reunited with him, it's just a blessing,” Escarcega said. “I can't express how grateful, how thankful I am right now. It's just a dream come true."

The Livingston County News first reported this story.

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