Kayla Malone poses with her beloved dog, Dolla, on Wednesday morning. Dolla escaped from Malone's truck and was missing for three days before the two were reunited. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

GRAND CROSSING — A dog who was missing for three days and spotted walking on Lake Shore Drive has been reunited with his owner — thanks to kind-hearted Chicagoans.

Truck driver Kayla Malone traverses the country while towing a trailer with her loyal companion, 2-year-old Dolla the dog. Her job occasionally brings the duo to the South Side.

But when Malone’s rig got stuck under a low-clearance bridge Friday at the yard near 63rd and State streets, the noise of the impact startled Dolla, who leapt out the semi’s window. Malone nervously searched the surrounding area for hours but couldn’t find her best friend.

“It’s crazy. He jumped out. It scared the sh–t out of him, literally, because he jumped out of the truck, took a crap, and the rest is history up until Monday morning,” Malone said.

The chaos started about 10 a.m. on April 30.

According to Spot News, a person reported seeing a dog about 10:30 a.m. running near 41st Street and Lake Shore Drive — nearly 4 miles from where Dolla jumped out of the truck. About 1 p.m. that day, a Block Club Chicago photographer spotted a dog matching Dolla’s description trotting south on Lake Shore Drive and called animal control.

A network of dog spotters on Facebook posted sightings in hopes of reconnecting Malone with her pooch. One reportedly saw him at 55th and Woodlawn on Saturday.

Malone, originally from Peoria and now living in Alabama, felt helpless during the whole ordeal. She stayed in the Chicago area for an extra day to continue looking for Dolla.

“I had no hope because of the traffic,” she said. “I just knew he was gonna end up dead.”

Lake Shore Drive near 43rd Street, around where Block Club Chicago photographer Colin Boyle spotted Dolla the dog on Friday, April 30, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

After a stressful weekend with no word on Dolla, Malone got a call early Monday from her vet: Somebody in Chicago had found Dolla and called the number on his tag. A group of construction workers had been taking care of him near the Museum of Science and Industry at the loading dock.

“I was thinking, ‘OK, he went back to somewhere where there [were] semis, maybe thinking it was me,” Malone said.

One of the construction worker’s partners had dog food in their car, so they all fed and tended to the tired pooch.

“For him to have been out there for, what, three days, three nights?” Malone said. “I wish he could talk because I know he has a few stories to tell.”

Dolla escaped from owner Kayla Malone’s truck and was missing for three days before the two were reunited. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

Malone was excited to be reunited with Dolla, a Labrador-German shepherd mix who she’s had since he was just 2 months old. The two are “inseparable,” she said.

Malone has not had the best experiences in Chicago in the past, but she thinks the skyline here is better than in any other city. She has also always been a diehard Bears fan, “no matter how sh–tty they are.” Now, she’s got another reason to love the city.

“I’m not used to good people, but all the help that I received from the Chicagoans these past three days — sharing posts and inspiring words and hopeful words — I have a whole different outlook on people in the world, period, and especially Chicago,” she said.

“The fact that we got reunited in Chicago from the help of the people, I mean, it speaks volumes. They was very worried. A lot of people were concerned and crying tears before I cried tears when they found that we were reunited.”

Credit: Lost Dog Illinois/Facebook

Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.

Already subscribe? Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 

Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: