People Take Action to help a man & his blind dog

Published 02/28 2013 05:01PM

Updated 02/28 2013 06:38PM

WESTVILLE -- A man from Tennessee and his dog have been stuck in Central Illinois for two weeks. They're trying to get back home, but have hit several road blocks along the way. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out how people in Vermilion County are Taking Action to help them.

Steven Sauer said he took a bus to his brother's house in Seymour to pick up his dog. But the bus company wouldn't let his dog ride back. So with more than 500 miles to go, Sauer started walking.

"I'm his human," said Sauer. "He just adopted me."

You could say Sauer is Toby's "seeing-eye man" since the Labrador was born blind. But Sauer wouldn't trade his traveling companion for any other.

"I won't mention my ex-wife, but he's the best friend I ever had," said Sauer. 

That's why he came all the way to Illinois two weeks ago to bring his buddy back home.

"I took a bus when I came to get my dog back, and they won't let him on the bus," said Sauer.  "Greyhound. Go figure."

So he and Toby started the long walk back, one step at a time.

"It was really bad," said Sauer. "Toby had to walk on the ice along the side of the road and I was almost in the road. It was dangerous."

He brought maps to plan his path and found his way to the Casey's in Westville.

"Customers would stop and talk to him," said Kathy Lappin, who is the Casey's store manager. "We would go out there and take care of the dog. Customers would bring dog biscuits for the dog. It was really nice."

Lappin said they were hesitant at first and wondered why his brother didn't give him a ride.

"He just said he had a family of his own," said Lappin. "He had kids in school and I'm 700 miles away."

But they gave him coffee and food. One customer paid for a hotel room for him to stay.

"They were sweet as pecan pie around here, people are," said Sauer. 

So sweet that someone even volunteered to take them home.

"I got a phone call from a local business that has basically donated an employee and a van to get this gentleman home tomorrow," said Westville Police Chief David Booe.

Even though he's enjoyed his stay, Sauer said he and Toby are happy to head home. Sauer said they walked from Seymour to Danville in one day just going along Highway 150. A police officer from Danville gave him a ride to Westville.

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