You would never think that a dog that was hit by a car can be described as lucky but this dog was just that. “Sugar” was found on the side of the road by a local veterinarian. Dr. Smith of Olde Towne Veterinary Clinic was on her way home from work when she saw a small dog on the side of the road. She stopped to see what had happened and this sweet dog lifted her head and wagged her tail. It was obvious that Sugar was seriously injured. I happened to be on my way to work at the emergency clinic when Dr. Smith called me to tell me that she had found this dog. I quickly left and went to meet Sugar. She was in rough shape. There were obvious broken bones and she looked to be in shock. However, she still wagged her tail and let me pick her up to put her in the car without a growl. Once at work we treated her for pain and shock. We used a hand held scanner to check her for a microchip to see if we could locate an owner but she was not chipped. She had no collar and no other identification. We were hoping someone would call the clinic and report her missing. We took radiographs and found that she had a fracture of her left humerus (long bone in her front leg) and a fracture of her left femur (long bone in her rear leg). In addition, her left hip had come out of place. The majority of orthopedic injuries are not life threatening and do not require immediate treatment so managing her pain was our first priority. Unfortunately, by morning Sugar’s heart rate was extremely elevated, she would not move from lying in one place, and she looked like her condition was quickly declining. We placed an ultrasound probe on her abdomen and found a large amount of fluid in her abdomen. Sugar had yet another problem; she had a ruptured urinary bladder which is a life threatening condition. I contacted Dr. Bianucci to let him know the situation. We were torn as to what to do from here. We had this stray dog with no owner that had multiple problems which all required surgery. It is never an easy thing in our profession to make decisions based on money but it has to come into play. The surgeries that Sugar would need along with the aftercare would be well over $5000. Dr. Bianucci, Dr. Smith, and I decided this dog deserved a chance. We did surgery on her bladder through the emergency clinic that day. One of our technicians came in to volunteer her time and I stayed past my shift to do surgery. The following day Dr. Bianucci repaired the fracture in the front leg and the day after that he repaired the femur fracture. Through all of these surgeries countless people volunteered their time and the clinics (Olde Towne and Veterinary Specialty Care) donated their supplies to ensure this dog got a chance to recover. Sugar took several days to recover but she made progress every day. She had yet one more surgery to go through for the dislocated hip. Dr. Schlicksup was nice enough to volunteer his time for this surgery which was performed about one week later (we needed to give her a break from anesthesia and surgery). After all of her surgeries Sugar was then moved to Olde Towne Veterinary Clinic to recover. She has started physical therapy and is working with a trainer as well. Bark Busters trainers is volunteering their time to help us train Sugar to be a good pet. She has not lived inside and is still getting used to being a pet rather than a street dog.
This story is more than about saving a life. The number of people that came together to make sure Sugar was well cared for was amazing. This is why we go into this field; so that we can save lives and help animals.