ANDERSON, Ind. (WXIN) – An 8-year-old boy lost his companion dog in New Mexico as his family was driving cross-country to move to Indiana from California.

Sunday night, Miranda Huckeby, her son Merrick, and her husband made a pit stop in New Mexico. The two adults got out alongside to check under the hood of their truck. Within seconds, their dog Sky took off.

“She was gone. It was terrifying,” said Miranda Huckeby.

They searched, called her name and drove around the desert, but no luck. It was dark and there was no sign of Sky. Sadly, they had to keep driving.

“I have a little boy in the backseat and his dog is gone. That was hard,” said Huckeby.

Sky is extra special, because Merrick depends on his dog, the family explained.

“Merrick has severe autism and Sky has been with him for four years. She mothers him. She herds him. She comforts him. She loves on him,” said Huckeby.

A relative started posting online, asking for help finding Sky somewhere out west. Less than a day later, someone found a dog with a collar on near a church, took her to a local animal shelter and a rescue group made the connection.

Sky is safe at the Grants Animal Care Center in New Mexico.

“This is a happy story because we always want a dog to get back and be reunited with their family. In this case, it’s a pretty special story obviously because the family was traveling through the area,” said Kuehnert.

Miranda Huckeby shared on social media that Sky secured a ride from New Mexico. If all goes as planned, Sky and Merrick should be reunited by Friday.