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Lucky Milo back home after thrown from pickup

Woman who witnessed high-speed toss reunites dog with owner

Milo, a 6-year-old Jack Russell terrier, took an unexpected ride last week, apparently in a thief’s getaway car.

The dog’s owner, Paul De Fazio, said someone stole items from his barn last Thursday. Defazio suspects either the thieves stole Milo, or that Milo unwittingly jumped in the vehicle hoping for a joyride.

His joyride came to an abrupt end later that day when he was thrown from the driver-side door of an older, red pickup truck with no license plates, at 60-plus mph on Highway 195 near Washington Road.

Stephanie Dunn, 21, of Spokane Valley, was behind the truck and watched in horror as Milo was chucked out the window.

“In all honesty, I was almost hysterical,” said Dunn, a self-described animal lover. “I was just in shock.”

The smallish dog tumbled, got up and hobbled across the highway into some brush. Dunn’s first thought: “This dog’s not going to live.”

Expecting the worst, she pulled over to see if the dog was alive. He was limping, but appeared to be OK.

“He jumped right up in my lap,” Dunn said. “The truck was long gone by then. I was pretty much more concerned with the dog.”

She took the dog home and bathed him, then took him to a veterinary clinic. Luckily for Milo, he didn’t sustain any serious injuries.

“I just feel blessed he was not hurt,” she said. “He could have been hurt much worse.”

Milo was microchipped, so Dunn tracked down De Fazio; the two were reunited Friday.

“She was a really nice young lady,” De Fazio said of Dunn. “She took care of him. It was really amazing, what she did. I don’t think many people would do that.”

Dunn refused to accept a reward – she said she acted on instinct and felt blessed she found Milo’s owner – but De Fazio insisted on buying dinner for her and her fiance.

Milo, De Fazio’s “business partner,” spends his days at De Fazio’s Spokane Valley mattress store and is recovering from the ordeal.

“He won’t leave my side,” he said. “He was lost without me.”

And De Fazio was lost without Milo, a friendly, wiry-haired dog he’s had since Milo was 7 weeks old. De Fazio has little hope he’ll get his belongings back – a saddle, a chain saw and three bridles were stolen – but he’s happy to have Milo by his side again.

“You feel like you’re losing one of your kids,” he said. “The stolen stuff doesn’t really matter that much. I’m glad I got my dog. The other stuff can be replaced.”

And while the story has a happy ending, both De Fazio and Dunn were shocked at the culprit’s callousness.

“I don’t know how someone could do that to an innocent animal,” De Fazio said. “He’s not the animal; those people who did it are the animals.”