March 21, 2019
David Bolander and Charlie

Transit Operator David Bolander was driving his community shuttle bus in McKenzie Towne when he observed a loose dog on the run. 

Leslie Sammel had been walking her daughter, Shannon’s dog, Charlie, on his leash, when the dog slipped out of its collar and ran off.

Despite Leslie frantically chasing after Charlie and hollering for him to come back, he continued to run along Promenade Way toward McKenzie Towne Link SE.

Operator Bolander observed what was going on, and decided to help capture the fleeing animal. He could see Leslie’s extreme distress and that the dog was getting farther away from her. Leslie continued to call out Charlie’s name and was yelling for people to stop him.

Operator Bolander pulled his bus over at the stop lights on 52nd Street and put his hazard lights on.

Then he got out of the bus to try to stop Charlie from entering onto a busy 52nd street where the dog likely would have been struck by a vehicle had he made it that far. “I didn’t like the dog’s chances if it made it to 52nd Street,” David said. 

As he chased after the dog, Operator Bolander hollered out to a couple of teenagers to stop the dog. Thankfully they were able to grab the dog and carried it across the street to the waiting arms of the operator.

“At this point I was pretty hysterical” Leslie said. The bus driver “calmed me down and

gave me the dog back. If he had not taken the time to realize my situation I'm not sure the dog would have survived running across a busy street.”

Charlie, is a rescue dog that Shannon recently adopted to help her battle a serious disease. Shannon, 30, suffers from an autoimmune disease that is progressively getting worse and Charlie has been a great support helping her get her through some of the bad days in her life.

 “As my daughter has said to me, her dog has also rescued her. I cannot adequately express my gratitude to this wonderful bus operator” for his actions, said Leslie.

“I don’t know what I would do without Charlie,” Shannon said. “he has helped me get through a lot of pretty bad days. I can’t thank driver Dave enough.”

“I don’t know how I would have been able to tell Shannon that I lost her dog,” Leslie said.

Leslie, Shannon and Charlie met up recently with Operator Bolander to thank him for his efforts.