Rancid, the canine companion of Richard Helms, had traveled with his owner since 2000, when Helms discovered the dog left alone in an empty apartment in Fort Worth, Texas. For the last 12 years, Rancid and Helms were inseparable, traveling together on work trips throughout the country.
But on Dec. 26, the travels of Helms, a handyman, and Rancid, would end.
Helms had stopped along a stretch of icy highway in Pennsylvania and had gotten out to help a desperate motorist during a frozen rain storm. While trying to save the distressed vehicle driver, who had hit a barricade, Helms was accidentally hit and killed by a sliding motorist, leaving Rancid alone, once again, in the cab.
For over a week, Rancid stayed with Joe Kriebel, the tow-truck driver who helped move the vehicles left on the frozen Pennsylvania highway. “If there would have been no family, we’d have kept him,” said Kriebel. “He’s definitely one of a kind.”
Rancid, a black lab mix named after the famous punk-rock band, was eventually handed off to Peggy Powell, who wanted to help Rancid get back to the Helms home in Hollywood, Calif., by driving 21 hours.
“God told me this is something I had to do,” said Powell. With the help of donations to make the trip, Powell set off on the long trip to California to return Rancid to his home.
On Monday, Rancid made it back to Hollywood with the kind help of Powell. Rancid was met by Helms’ wife of 30 years, Patricia, and daughters Jessica, 27, and Alyssa, 23.
“Two miles away he started going crazy,” Powell said. “He started crying and turning around. He sensed he was home.” Over a month after their tragic loss, the Helms family has been returned a piece of Richard’s heart, his faithful companion, Rancid.
“That’s what my dad would have wanted more than anything,” Alyssa said. “We just wanted (Rancid) home.”