WESTAMPTON — Clifford, a large hunting dog who was rescued off the side of the New Jersey turnpike last December, has found a new forever home after spending most of the past two months at the New Jersey animal shelter. Burlington County.

Lisa Yochim, of Absecon, Atlantic County, adopted the 2.5-year-old dog mix last month after learning of her remarkable rescue near the Exit 6 interchange on the turnpike.

The reddish-brown dog was spotted running on the freeway in late December and caused traffic to stop in southbound lanes. Among the vehicles that stopped was a large truck that the frightened dog hid under until the driver and other motorists finally persuaded him to get out.

The truck driver named the dog Clifford, after the children’s book classic “Clifford the Big Red Dog.”

After being rescued from under the truck, Clifford was handed over to the Florence Township animal control officer, who brought him to the Academy Drive shelter in Burlington County. He was screened and held for the shelter’s 7-day wandering period before being put up for adoption.

Yochim visited Clifford and fell in love after hearing about him from news reports and social media. She completed the application process and officially welcomed Clifford into her family on February 22 after he recovered from surgery (all animals at the shelter are spayed or neutered, updated on their vaccines and microchipped for a permanent identification before being adopted) .

Burlington County Commissioner Felicia Hopson said she hopes Clifford’s happy ending will inspire others to consider adopting from the shelter.

“Our entire board was thrilled to hear that Clifford was being given a new forever home after his harrowing adventure on the toll road,” said Hopson, who serves as the liaison between the commissioners and the shelter. . “Our shelter staff and volunteers do an amazing job caring for all the animals that come to the shelter, but we all want nothing more than to find loving homes for all adoptable animals.”

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 organisations. Fifty-two dogs and six cats have also been reunited with their owners.

Throughout March, adoption fees for pit bulls and pit bull mixes have also been reduced to $25. Typically, the adult dog adoption fee is $75.

The refuge is open for visits and visits on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. It is closed to public visits on Wednesdays. People are encouraged to call ahead at 609-265-5073 to schedule an appointment.

“Clifford’s story has a fantastic ending, but we want the same for all the dogs and cats at the shelter, so we’re asking residents to go online or visit the shelter soon. There are lots of dogs and adorable cats just waiting to meet you,” Hopson said.

Burlington County Animal Shelter dogs and cats can be found online at www.co.burlington.nj.us/1446/Available-for-Adoption.