LAKE CLEAR — Floyd Lampart set out pedaling for lots of paws but ended up rescuing one specific dog as well.
The stray pup was running in and out of traffic in El Centro, Calif., before the Lake Clear man’s very eyes.
“He was frantic,” Floyd said via cellphone from Minnesota, as he headed homeward on his 12,000-mile fundraiser for two animal shelters. “Cars were screeching by him, and he did not know where to go.”
So, he called the dirty, matted and skinny schnauzer-mix to him, used his belt as a leash and got him some water from a local restaurant.
And he named him Fuzzy.
Then Floyd took the pooch to a nearby motel with air conditioning, where Fuzzy stayed with him until he could take him to Imperial Valley Humane Society in El Centro.
Floyd continued on his way, but that dog was never far from his mind.
“He started nagging me about a month ago,” his wife, Martha, said in a separate interview. “I said, ‘I don’t need another dog.’”
The Lampart household already included Emmy Lou, a cocker spaniel nearing age 5; a 13-year-old puppy-mill-rescue cocker who’s deaf; a 14-month-old springer spaniel Reckless; and cats Tinker and Smudge.
But Fuzzy still waited in the California shelter for a new home, and Martha caved.
“I thought I could get him here ... and have a nice surprise when (Floyd) got home,” she said.
FIT RIGHT IN
Fuzzy’s trip wasn’t as circuitous as his rescuer’s, but it proved fairly complicated.
A volunteer from the El Centro shelter took the dog by car to Burbank, a drive of several hours. Another dog lover brought the pup from there to Santa Barbara, where he boarded a plane with a Pilots N Paws Rescue Service pilot at the controls.
Fuzzy, Martha said, “was the only person on the plane besides the pilot.”
That flight landed in Farmingdale, N.Y., where Lake Placid resident Dr. D.J. O’Neil — a Pilots N Paws volunteer and friend of the Lamparts — picked up Fuzzy and flew him home.
He arrived there on Aug. 11, where he and Reckless immediately struck up a friendship.
“It was like Reckless said, ‘I have somebody to play with!’” Martha said.
TEXT SPOILS SURPRISE
The surprise was doomed to fail, however.
“Floyd caught snippets of emails” mentioning Fuzzy, Martha said, that she explained away with some small prevarication she knows probably didn’t fool her husband.
Anyhow, modern technology further ended any chance that Floyd wouldn’t find out that four rather than three canines would greet him upon his return home.
“Someone sent him a text message that said, ‘Congratulations on getting Fuzzy,’” Martha said.
Learn more about Pilots N Paws at http://pilotsnpaws.org.
— Contributing Writer Javier Simon contributed to this report.