Patrick, the "miracle dog," didn't know anything about trucks. The 1-year old Irish Jack Russell did, however, know about children.
So when he saw some playing across the street from his new home, he took off in hopes of finding love and fun. Never mind that his owner of just two weeks, 10-year-old Maylee Blauer, was calling to him. He ignored her father's commands to stop as well.
As Patrick sprinted across the road in the Manti neighborhood, a full-size Toyota Tundra pickup truck slammed into him and stopped with the rear wheel on his tiny body.
The screams of neighborhood children followed. Some were expressing disbelief and despair, others were begging the driver of the truck to pull forward.
Maylee and her father, Anthony Blauer, ran to Patrick's side. Once the truck rolled forward, Anthony picked him up and carried him to the nearby lawn. He laid him down, stroked his head and tried to help his daughter deal with the reality of losing a pet she'd longed for so desperately.
"I ran out into the road," Maylee said. "All of the kids ran over. I was screaming and yelling. My dad picked him up; he was just gasping for air. ... I took his collar off so he could breathe better."
Then her father tried to calm her.
"I said, 'Honey, crying won't help; he is dead,"' Anthony recalled. "He was totally limp. I thought for sure his back was broken."
Maylee fled to the arms of her mother, who suggested they try to find call a veterinarian, although they thought it might be an impossible task as it was Thanksgiving Day. The second call they made was to a retired vet in Ephraim, who said he'd wait for them. Dr. Hedelius examined him, gave him some pain medication and said Patrick likely had broken bones. His best chance at survival was to get to a pet hospital in Salt Lake City.
As luck would have it, the family had been preparing to head to Sandy for Thanksgiving dinner with family when the accident occurred.
So they made Patrick as comfortable as they could in his kennel and headed for Sandy. On their way out of town, Maylee asked her father to stop near Temple Hill, which is the sloping lawn of the LDS Manti Temple.
"Maylee said, 'Let's go to the temple and pray for him,"' said her 16-year-old sister, McKenzie Blauer. They did. Holding each other, weeping, they begged for Patrick's life.
"In the car, all of us together, it all brought us closer together," said McKenzie. "We prayed, and we really did feel like he was going to make it."
Anthony and Jenny Blauer weren't as confident as their children.
"As we were going up, I was explaining that when we love things, sometimes it hurts, but we have to let them go," Jenny said. "But the longer Patrick lived, I became much, much more hopeful."
Maylee said she continued praying all the way up. After all, for as long as she could remember, she'd been begging for this dog.
Jenny Blauer said her daughter had been asking for a dog "since she could talk," adding, "but I'm not a dog person."
Her daughter persisted as her 10th birthday approached, and Jenny began softening. Eventually they found Patrick on the Internet. He was the breed they'd researched small but rugged and unlike a lot of other purebreds, he was free.
"One night my mom and dad took me in the car alone," Maylee said. "They said I was in trouble. But my mom was talking to my aunt and she said the word 'dog."'
It was love at first sight.
"I am really lucky," she said of her first thoughts.
The two became fast friends and constant companions, as she even sneaked him out of his kennel and into her bed when Mom wasn't looking.
"He finds Maylee," said Jenny. "He follows her all over the place."
The morning after Thanksgiving, Maylee and her father loaded a much perkier Patrick into the car and took him to a Pet Smart Hospital in Taylorsville. They recounted their story to the vet who wasn't so sure it was accurate.
"He said, 'If that's the way it happened, that's a death sentence,"' Anthony said. Maylee told him she'd seen it happen, but he still expressed disbelief.
That, the vet said, would be a miracle.
For not only was Patrick going to live, but he didn't suffer any broken bones and only needed some antibiotics (for the road rash) and pain pills.
Maylee knows some may doubt her story, but she isn't worried about convincing them otherwise. She's too busy enjoying her new best friend.
Besides, she knows exactly why Patrick survived."Because I prayed for him, and he's a miracle dog."
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