Dog’s return cheers family

Pet Was Lost in N.M. Crash That Killed 2 From Clio

TUCUMCARI, N.M — A Maltese dog named Caesar that disappeared more than a year ago after a car crash that killed two members of its owning family in eastern New Mexico is on his way home to Clio.

The Quay County Sun said Wednesday that Caesar was found by a volunteer looking for adoptable dogs at a shelter in Tucumcari. She tracked down his owner, Monica Benson, after Caesar was scanned for a microchip.

Benson, who lost her husband and a daughter in the accident, said her four surviving children are excited and have made “Welcome Home” posters for Caesar.

“This has been the best news we have received in a year,” she said.

Caesar left Tucumcari this week for Clio.

The Benson family was traveling westbound on I-40 near Tucumcari on June 15, 2010, when their 2001 Chevrolet minivan overturned.

Gary and Emily Benson died from injuries in the accident. One of the other children, then-18-month-old Benjamin, was placed in an intensive care unit.

“While Benjamin was in the ICU, we placed a picture of him and Caesar on the walls,” Monica Benson told the newspaper.

Benson said the family returned to the accident scene and tried to find Caesar.

“It has been so hard,” Monica Benson said. “There are pictures all over the house, and Benjamin would point at them and ask, ‘Where’s Caesar?’ ”

Mike Martinez, animal control supervisor for Tucumcari, said a family dropped off Caesar on Thursday, saying they were moving and could no longer care for him.

Christina Flemming, a member of the Tucumcari Animal Rescue Group, found Caesar at the Tucumcari animal shelter Friday.

After his chip was scanned, she said, she called the number attached to the chip, only to find it had been disconnected. So she went online to try to find the family and found an article about the accident.

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