Nothing will make up for their loss of a loved one, but the recovery of his beloved dog has brought some comfort to a family in mourning.
Rudy Cobb, a 51-year-old OOIDA member from Kentucky, was killed during an accident last week after he suffered a heart attack on Interstate 57 in Effingham, Ill. After the accident, Cobb’s dachshund named “Little Man” ran away, and authorities on the scene weren’t able to retrieve him.
For truckers who travel with pets, the bond Cobb had with “Little Man” is easily relatable.
“He spent a lot of time on the road,” said Tara McLeane, who was Rudy’s cousin. “All Rudy knew was trucking, and that’s all he ever wanted to do. That dog was his companion.”
McLeane said “Little Man” rode more than 93,000 of the 100,000 miles Rudy put on the 2002 Mack truck he recently rebuilt with his 19-year-old son, Bryan.
Rudy’s mother, Sandy Cobb, hoped to find the dog so she could give it to Bryan. Local news stories told residents to keep their eyes open for the little dog. Soon, local authorities received dozens of calls about the missing dachshund. McLeane used Facebook to interact with organizations from Effingham that could help the family locate the dog.
“We had to get the dog back,” McLeane said. “We just thought of the dog running around terrified. Rudy wouldn’t have wanted that, and the family didn’t want that.”
On Friday, the day before Rudy's funeral in Salem, Ky., the good news came.
A man recovered “Little Man” on the northbound side of I-57, according to an article from the Effingham Daily News A photo provided by the family showed the dog’s collar matched.
“Little Man” was taken to a veterinarian and treated for injuries, including a broken hind leg.
Sandy and Bryan traveled to Illinois to retrieve “Little Man” on Monday. McLeane said members of the Effingham community provided donations to cover the cost of the dog’s vet bill.
“It doesn’t bring Rudy back, but it does bring a piece of him back,” McLeane said. “Due to the nature of the accident, we had a closed casket funeral. Having the dog back brings some closure. We have something to keep, hold and take care of.”
McLeane said Rudy will be remembered as someone who loved his family and his profession.
“Rudy and his son rebuilt the motor on his truck together,” she said. “Sharing his knowledge with his son, Bryan is now in school training to be a diesel mechanic. Rudy was proud of that truck, and he was proud of his son.”