Man who helped rescue injured dog talks to 10News

Posted at 6:28 PM, Dec 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-27 21:48:59-05

SAN DIEGO - A man who helped get a severely injured missing dog home in time for the holidays vanished before he could get any credit, but 10News was able to track him down.

"Years and years ago, I started putting cameras out here," Jack McInerney said about a canyon in Mira Mesa.

He likes watching the wildlife, but in November, a dog with paralyzed back legs dragged her way into the picture.

She would take off when he would get near her, but he hated how emaciated she was in a canyon with coyotes.

"Three times a day I would put the food out," McInerney explained. "Every time I saw where her path was, I'd move it closer to where she was."

She was gaining strength, but McInerney did not think she would make it in the cold, wet weather moving in.

"My heart was broken," he added. "Who would do this? How did this happen?"

He shared the video mid-December, and someone recognized her as the dog in a 10News story. Someone broke into Jackie Perdue's home on Halloween weekend and her dogs, Zoey and Coco, vanished.

RELATED: Dogs missing after thieves break in

Randy Grindle saw the story about Zoey being spotted and showed up to search. A group spent hours developing a search plan.

"They weren't really ready to go down except me, Randy and [10News reporter] Hannah [Mullins], and the three of us decided that we were going to find the do no matter what," McInerney said.

Despite the rough terrain and pouring rain, McInerney spotted Zoey shivering and scared.

"Randy grabbed it, and then you and Randy were in there taking care of the dog," he said to Mullins.

McInerney called the search party to hoist her up, but he disappeared without taking credit.

He was able to find her because he knew where she would be.

"I have lived here for three years," he said, as he pointed to tents in the canyon. "That's all you really need."

McInerney has life experience like prison time for drugs, and he uses it to help students at UC San Diego.

"It's hope for other people to say you can do it," he said.

RELATED: Missing dog rescued from canyon, taken to the vet

McInerney said he has been clean nine years, and he is studying to become a drug counselor.

"I know I'm going to pull myself out of this because I'm doing the right things," he added.

McInerney is working out, doing yoga and doing things like making sure Zoey did not go hungry.

"If it get hungry, I learn to fast," he said.

"How many lives do you save in your life?" he said. "I'm so happy that I've had that. That's all I need is that."

While McInerney did not ask for anything, he did say he could use tools. When he is not in school, he wants to go back to working as a carpenter to beat homelessness.