Service dog killed in hit-and-run

FAYETTEVILLE Rita Potts needs a service animal to help get around. She says 38 years ago, a drunk driver left her partially paralyzed and in constant pain.

She says she doesn't know what she will do now without her constant companion, Buddy.

"Because I have been afraid to go out and walk, because I fall down very easily and most of the time I have no way to get up," she said. "And with him I could balance against him and wouldn't be fearful of walking."

Potts says he was more than just a best friend.

Sunday, she packed up the toys she bought two and a-half months ago when Buddy came into her life. She says the two bonded almost instantly.

"I mean I could move my cane and he was up like, what's going on where we are going, and that I really liked," Potts said.

She says Buddy wouldn't run wearing the harness, so for exercise she'd take the harness off and let him run free along the back fence of the apartment complex where she lived.

Potts says Buddy would always return when she called him, but on Thursday he took off and ran. He made it out to Marlboro Road, then to Raeford Road and into traffic where witnesses say he was hit and killed. The driver never stopped.

"[The driver] was in a big black pickup truck with great big tires on the bed of it like he was hauling tires somewhere and he just kept going," Potts said.

She says she blames herself for letting Buddy off a leash, but faults the driver for not stopping.

It took Potts three years and close to $10,000 to get Buddy. She says she doesn't have the money or time to wait another three years.

"Because I have to have another neck surgery, and I was hoping to have by dog that could help me pick things up open doors and carry groceries," she said.

Pott's says Buddy added balance to her life, now she is facing an uncertain and unsteady future.

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