WESTAMPTON — A 2 1/2-year-old hound mix rescued from the side of the New Jersey Turnpike last December, has found a new forever home after spending most of the last two months at the Burlington County Animal Shelter.

The reddish-brown dog was spotted running loose on the Turnpike near Exit 6 in late December, causing traffic to come to a halt in the southbound lanes. Among the vehicles that stopped was a large truck that the frightened dog hid under until the driver eventually coaxed him out.

The truck driver, Jonathan Bolanos, of New Brunswick, named the dog Clifford after the children's book classic "Clifford the Big Red Dog."

Clifford was turned to the Florence Township's animal control officer, who in turn, brought him to the Burlington County Animal Shelter.

Enter Lisa Yochim.

After learning about Clifford from social media and various news reports, the Absecon woman visited the dog at the shelter, completed the application process, and officially welcomed Clifford into her family on Feb. 22.

"Our entire board was overjoyed to learn that Clifford was getting a new forever home following his harrowing adventure on the Turnpike," said Felicia Hopson, who serves as the Burlington County Commissioners' liaison to the shelter.

Hopson said while Clifford's story has a fantastic ending, the hope is to have the same for all the dogs and cats in the shelter.

More than 50 dogs and 160 cats have been adopted from the shelter so far this year and another 66 have been placed with animal rescue organizations. 52 dogs and 6 cats have also been reunited with their owners.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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