“Dino,” a green plush Triceratops, has been on vacation for nearly a week.

Or at least that’s what 3-year-old Kameron was told after he lost his friend over Memorial Day weekend as his family headed to go camping in Soap Lake, Grant County, according to the boy’s mother, Haley Librande.

They were driving through slow traffic last Friday on eastbound Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass when Kameron dropped Dino out the window. Cars were still moving, making it impossible to get out and retrieve him, Librande said.

Kameron managed to make it through the weekend without missing his buddy too much — distracted by a jampacked weekend of family activities.

But Monday night, the boy asked for Dino before bedtime. The stuffed toy has been his sleeping companion for most of his life, making it hard for him to fall asleep without it.

“He’d been sleeping with us every night because of that,” Librande said.


Unbeknownst to the family, two women — Carlyn Schmidgall, of Issaquah, and Megan Larson, of Lynnwood — had picked Dino up from the I-90 shoulder.

The two friends were on their way to Ancient Lakes in Eastern Washington when they spotted “something green,” Schmidgall said.

The traffic was “moving from bumper to bumper,” and Schmidgall got out of the car to retrieve the plushie.

“We thought, ‘Here’s probably some little kid in one of the cars up ahead who is upset and missing them,’ ” she said.

And so Dino became their car companion while the two women reached out to the Washington State Department of Transportation in hopes they could help track down its rightful owner.

“We were unsure if that would work out because they mostly deal with roadway accidents and traffic,” Larson said. But the agency was more than willing to spread the word.


Posts were made on WSDOT’s Twitter and Facebook pages that quickly “blew up,” according to WSDOT’s social media manager Mike Allende.

“I knew that I could count on our audience to help spread the word,” he said. “Everybody’s looking for a good story.”

Social media can be a rough place, especially these days, Allende said, but the great response to the callout shows people are willing to help when presented with the opportunity.

Soon it reached Librande, who went on Facebook on Tuesday morning and saw WSDOT’s post shared by a friend. She recognized Dino.

She left a comment, which Allende spotted. He connected her with the toy’s rescuers and Larson sent photos, including one of the toy “playing” on a tree, telling her Dino was on vacation.

The boy responded “that’s so silly,” with a giant grin on his face, Librande said.


“I thought that was the end of Dino, and I would’ve never thought he’d have him back,” she said. “I was pretty touched by the whole situation.”

Friday afternoon, the two were finally reunited at Jennings Memorial Park in Marysville, where the Librandes live.

Kameron started running toward Larson and Schmidgall, then stopped just a foot away before he slowly walked closer. Then, he grabbed Dino and held him tightly.

Quickly, Kameron shifted gears. It was time to catch bugs and play with his friend on the dinosaur-themed playground.