A pup on the run, and a downtown rescue with a happy ending

Reade Street residents Brad Learmonth and Jon Gilman were in a Lyft headed to the Whitney on March 12, driving up the Westside Highway, and as they approached 14th Street, “I saw this little creature run out onto the highway,” said Brad.

It scooted past their car and into the southbound lanes; a van screeched to a halt. Brad yelled to his driver to stop and leapt out of the car, just as the critter spooked, pivoted and dashed back to the northbound lanes. “It was an instant glimpse of humanity on a high speed road — everything came to a stop. In that minute and a half, you could clearly see that people on the road were getting that something was happening.”

But one car flew past, clipping the little guy’s leg. And as he limped across, he took shelter in a hotel doorway. That’s where Brad found him, and where he got his name — Dodger. “He was standing there, shivering,” said Brad. “He came to me and I picked him up.”

Jon and Brad then walked the area, looking to see if anyone was searching for the pup (they also later put a notice in Animal Community Care) while the driver waited — he was also concerned. They then headed to the BluePearl 24-hour vet on 15th and Fifth, who checked for a chip (none) and gave them a leash and a carrier on the house. By the next day Reade Street Animal Hospital had checked him out, given him all his shots and took a guess at a profile: chihuahua mix, 1 to 2 years old, definitely not house broken.

The next stop was Biscuits & Bath, because “he stank and had really long nails,” said Brad (the video is from that day). He came back smelling delicious — but there was a catch. Walking him alongside their two other dogs was no easy task. “The girls have their own rhythm.”

That’s when their downstairs neighbor Lesley Sondey spotted him. She took one look, interrupted her husband, Brian, on a work call, and by the next day was driving him out east with the family — a foster pup on loan for the weekend, or until Brad and Jon could decide what to do.

“That little rescue has rescued us — he is just the sweetest, well adjusted guy and we are so happy he is with us,” said Lesley, who has two teenagers. “He loves everyone in our family equally.”

And it may just be that he is not going back upstairs, or at least not on a permanent basis. In an only-in-New-York twist, Dodger may live between the two families, commuting by building stairwell. “The reality is he belongs to Jon and Brad,” said Lesley. “But he has really settled into our family. We would love to share him. We are totally down for that.”

Till then, Dodger is on his way to being housebroken and he’s getting along with the Sondeys’ cats. Good dog.



  1. Lucky little Dodger! Wonderful story. Thank you.

  2. I have a similar story. Our adorable pure-bred Maltese, Oliver, was found huddled up against an exit ramp in Philly, retrieved, checked out by a UPenn vet and arrived on our doorstep, virtually unannounced, over two years ago. He was severely underweight, at six pounds, and totally shell-shocked, although very happy for regular feedings. We named him in honor of Oliver Twist and today he’s adjusted to life as a happy, healthy, Tribeca pup! Now we can’t imagine life without him.

  3. What a wonderful story to brighten up these stay at home orders!
    Dodger is lucky to have you all and it’s obvious to me this was meant to be! When I lived on Reade St. for 15 years, I rescued 3 different dogs, but luckily someone was looking for two and responded to “found dog” signs, & one we traced through the rabies tag # & Vet’s name, since we had 3 Shar-Pei at the time and couldn’t make it 4 dogs! A longtime client & resident told me people used to drive through the tunnel to “dump” dogs in Tribeca in the 80s. Sad.