Little Shih Tzu-poodle leads firefighters in wild chase on DC highway

WASHINGTON  - There was a wildly adorable chase down a busy highway in Maryland, but the culprit was no human. It was a little dog.

"Astro," a Shih Tzu-poodle mix who is a year and half old, led firefighters in a game of cat-and-mouse on a closed portion of Interstate 495 in Washington D.C. Officials said the ordeal started when they responded to a multi-vehicle crash on the highway Friday.

The dog was initially placed in a fire department vehicle for his safety. Meanwhile, the owner, Liyah Young, who was involved in the crash, was heading to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.

At one point, someone opened the door to the fire department's vehicle, and that's when Astro ran out, leading firefighters on a high-speed run across the highway.

“We were in pretty good shape. The dog was ahead of us, but we were gaining ground on him,” Montgomery Fire and Rescue Capt. Don Yingling told WJLA. “And there was a break in the Jersey wall, and he made it through there, and that’s when it got a little hairy.”

Chopper aerials showed the small and fluffy moving fast and dodging firefighters -- that was until Astro took a U-turn in front of a semi-truck.

“A civilian actually stopped and scared him into the bushes and he was running up the hill and we were able to catch him," Yingling said. “They should have named him Rocket. Oh yeah, he was extremely fast."

After seven minutes, the speedy pup was caught and safely driven from the scene.

His owner says the dog suffered a small paw injury from running on the hot pavement, but otherwise, Astro is doing safely back home after the highway chase.

“I’m just glad it turned out good. Good, happy ending," says Captain Yingling.