CLAREMORE, Okla. — The Parker family of Waco, Texas, was driving on I-44 north of Claremore Friday when they were struck by another vehicle and spun face first into the concrete center median.
On impact, their dog Quest, a boxer pit mix with a brown and white bridle coat, was forcefully ejected through the back window, landing in the grass on the side of the highway.
Eyewitnesses to the accident said the pup got up, dazed and scared, and took off into the woods on the edge of the highway.
“I tried to follow him as long as I could,” Quest’s owner Brad Parker said. “But I had another dog in the car and my wife was laying on the ground, so I had to make a decision.”
An ambulance arrived and took Lacey to Claremore Hospital, but they couldn’t transport the second dog, Sparta, so Brad and Sparta walked along the side of the highway searching for Quest while they made their way into town.
Lacey and Brad were driving through the area after dropping their son Dakota off at his grandmother’s house for a month of summer fun in Branson, Missouri.
This accident is especially heartbreaking for the family because of the bond that boy and his dog share.
Although Quest is not technically a service animal, he acts as a therapy dog for 13-year-old Dakota.
“My son had real bad nightmares and separation anxiety from his biological mom,” Brad said. “Once we got Quest, the nightmares stopped. Psychologically, I don’t know how the brain works, but everything stopped. All the problems just seemed to disappear.”
Quest had a problematic childhood too, with abusive owners that kept him tied up by a harness around his waist.
When Quest was rescued and sent to the animal shelter, the harness had to be surgically removed, and left a distinctive, circular scar around his stomach and back.
Brad called Dakota to tell him the bad news, and like a champ, Dakota urged his parents to prioritize their health and safety over finding Quest.
“But I think as soon as he walks in the house, if his dog’s not here, it’s going to hit him and its going to him hard,” Brad said.
Lacey agreed, “The bond between them is inseparable, and we don’t want them to lose that.”
Quest is micro-shipped, fixed, and has a clipped ear in addition to the scar on his torso.
“He’s a big old baby,” Brad said, describing the dog’s temperament. “If you so much as raise your voice slightly, he will cower down, run and hide.”
“With all the fireworks that night, there is no telling where he went and hid,” Brad said.
Lacey and Brad gave a special thank you to Belinda Puzder and other community members who have been out looking for their dog while they are at home and work in Waco.
Lacey and Brad’s missing dog post was shared over 300 times in a Facebook group where they are not even members, for which they expressed extreme gratitude.
A special crew of pet detectives from Missouri are also traveling to northeast Oklahoma to help find this dog and bring it home.
Brad acknowledged the possibility that Quest was severely hurt on impact, and went to find a hiding place to pass away.
“There’s no way to know,” Brad said. “As long as he is found, even if he is found deceased, it would still be closure.”
Brad’s big concern at the moment is that Quest is wandering around, hungry and lonely, without anyone to love on him.
“Dogs need to be loved on, too,” he said.
“If Quest is not found, it won’t be from a lack of effort,” Brad said. “I will be able to honestly tell my son, everything that anybody could do was done.”
For the time being though, Brad said, “Nobody is giving up.”