It was a long and scary morning for an Alabama veteran who made an unexpected stop in Knoxville Thursday morning.
Adolph Briggs tells 10News he was headed to Atlanta with his companion dog, Red, on Interstate 75 just past Callahan Road when he crashed.
"I heard his collar make a noise," Briggs said. "I looked back, and it was actually him. I heard it shake when he leaped. I panic, I hit the brake, and I thought, hydroplane, and it was too late."
The truck was wrecked, and Red was gone.
Briggs said he searched throughout the morning hours, and alerted area law enforcement. But for hours, he had no luck.
To Briggs, Red was more than just a pet. He says the dog has been there, by his side, throughout his chemo treatments at the VA hospital in Atlanta. Briggs said he's a veteran of the Marine Corps.
"Chemo itself is stressful, going to chemo is stressful," he said. "The outcome after chemo is stressful, but, with him, it gives me another purpose. He can't do without me, and I can't do without him. I don't feel as stressed as I used to be. At times, I felt like I was just about to run out of gas, mentally and physically."
He did run out of gas earlier this year. Back in May, he ended up in the hospital after a standoff with police related to a domestic dispute, according to the Andalusia Star-News.
He says Red, a rescue dog, has helped him through his past issues and his current treatment.
"He just gave me another burst of energy, a second wind, so to speak, and I don't know what I'd do without him, I don't know how I ever done without him, so we're kinda inseparable now," he said.
That's why Briggs was not about to give up on his search for Red Thursday morning. In the end, a local television photographer spotted the dog and helped the two reunite.
"You're OK, buddy," Briggs said to Red as hugged him. "I got my Red back. I guess they're gonna have to pry him out of my cold, dead hands."
Briggs told 10News he was waiting on relatives from Alabama to travel to Knoxville to get him. He was hoping to reschedule his chemo appointment in Atlanta.
"I have stage 3 cancer, and I'm fighting that," he said. "That's nothing compared to me almost losing my dog. I can fight the cancer."