01/04/2012 10:13 EST | Updated 03/05/2012 05:12 EST

B.C. Dog Found Alive Days After Fatal Crash


A B.C. woman who lost her best friend in a car crash on the Trans-Canada Highway in eastern B.C. is taking some solace after the dog she had adopted from the dead woman was found alive days after the crash.

On Dec. 21, a 36-year-old Burnaby, B.C., woman and her two young daughters, aged four and six, were killed in a crash near Rogers Pass. Police said the woman's SUV crossed the centre line on a straight stretch of road and was struck by a transport truck.

Lisa Hawkins of Merritt was close friends with the woman, whose name has not been released at the request of her family.

"She was my best friend and those girls were everything to me," Hawkins said. "Our families are very close."

Hawkins thought the dog she had adopted from her friend was also lost in the crash as the family travelled home to B.C. from Calgary. The one-year-old dog named Toffee was not found at the crash scene.

"[Police] told me the dog was not in the vehicle," Hawkins said. "So I had that hope that my dog was alive, maybe injured or maybe with a broken leg or something, but I did have the hope that she was alive."


She went searching for the dog on Boxing Day -- five days after the crash.

"My husband and I just called and shouted her name ... and there she was. She popped her little head up on a snow bank, and I went running to her, definitely with tears in my eyes," Hawkins said.

"She kept running right to me and she was barking and a little bit scared and a little nervous. Probably most likely she was pretty cold, but I found her."

It's believed the dog was thrown clear and somehow survived the crash, plus five nights alone on the mountain pass.

Hawkins took Toffee to a local veterinarian, who gave the dog a clean bill of health.

"With everything that has happened, Toffee is now more of a blessing to our family," she said.