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Man on road trip gets out of car — and comes back to find a stray dog in the front seat

After a fishing trip in Arkansas, Bill Shaver was on his way home to Missouri when he pulled into a rest stop to use the bathroom and throw away some trash. He didn’t plan to be gone for long, so he left the engine running and the car door open.

But when he returned, he was surprised to see that he wasn’t alone anymore – he found a homeless dog sitting in the front passenger seat of his car.

River the dog

Angela Shaver

As she was all skin and bones, the pooch appeared to be a homeless dog. Bill had no other food with him at the time other than a Rice Krispie Treat, so he offered it to her and the famished pup quickly devoured it.

Bill wanted to help this homeless dog, so he sent a picture of her to his wife, Angela. The couple had a tendency to take in stray animals in need, and he knew that Angela would immediately agree with his desire to adopt the dog.

“I asked him what our new dog’s name was,” Angela told The Dodo. “We decided to call her River because of where she found him.”

Bill and River

Angela Shaver

As soon as the duo arrived home, Angela and their son came out to greet the new member of the family. But it looked like River got too comfortable inside the car and didn’t want to leave.

Eventually, Bill carried her out and introduced her to the other furry residents in the home. The family had a total of three rescue dogs and one rescue cat. But despite this number, the couple were more than happy to add another one to the bunch.

The three rescue dogs and River

Angela Shaver

Angela described River’s first day in their house:

“Once they all decided she was OK, he [Bill] brought her in for a bath. She was covered in mud, blood and ticks. After she was dried off and some ticks picked off, she got a good meal. Bill made her a bed on the floor in our room next to the space heater. She slept there all night.”

Bill and River

Angela Shaver

River woke up the next morning and wandered around her new home cautiously. She ran outside with the rest of their pets, but she never strayed too far from her parents.

The family noticed right away that River might be housebroken, which meant that she may have had a family of her own at one point in her life before she became a stray.

“We had one accident in the house the first night,” Angela said. “But it was near the door. She had to go, but didn’t know how to tell us.”

The couple took River to the vet to get her checked and found that the poor dog had multiple health issues – tapeworms, heartworms, and wounds on her neck and face that looked like it came from a fight.

Angela, Bill, and River in the car

Angela Shaver

The doctor gave her the necessary medication and River remained relaxed all throughout, as if sensing that whatever they were doing was to keep her safe.

Formerly homeless, River is now settling really well with her new family. Though there are still some things that she is unsure about, such as roughhousing with her fellow dogs and playing with toys, the pup is taking it one step at a time.

Bill and Angela are happy to witness how River’s confidence grows with each passing day.

“She runs in the yard and chases nothing with Winston, sits for cookies with Ginger and hogs the bed with Butters. The cat was very unpleased for the first few days, but is finally coming around,” Angela said.


Angela Shaver

River hopped into that car not knowing that it will change her life forever. Though it may look like one, we think that their encounter was far from coincidence – it was meant to be. And judging from the way things are going, it looks like both parties couldn’t be any happier with the result.

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