Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hit and Run

So, we have a wonderful German nurse who helps with Needlenoggin's care. He's wonderful, efficient, and we wouldn't have made it out of this without him. Anyway, one of the things he actually enjoys doing is walking Dingo, Needlenoggin's dog.

Well, last night at around 9 pm, they were walking through the parking lot in a building adjacent to ours (because it has little grass islands in it that Dingo loves to sniff), and a silver SUV came through the driveway and hit the dog. It was a slow-speed impact, but the driver kept moving. She got trapped by a piece on the bottom of the SUV , and the SUV began dragging her. The nurse jumped in front of the SUV and waved his hands, screaming for the guy to stop. Both the passenger and driver just stared at him, didn't roll down their windows or turn off their music, and drove off.

This is how far she got dragged:

And, just so you are aware, that beige line is 10 feet long and made out of fur and blood:

Eventually she got untangled from the bottom of the car and bolted down the street. the nurse chased her two blocks and saw her turn, and then the security guard at the end of another 2 blocks saw her turn again. Then the nurse ran upstairs to tell Needlenoggin what was going on, because Tuffy, Miss Manhattan and I had just left to drop cars off at the shop.

So there we are, two blocks away getting gas, when Tuffy's phone rings. Tuffy calls Emeryville PD, and alerts them to a hit and run (a felony) and that we're looking for a service dog. We pack back into the cars and head home, knowing that the nurse is out on a bicycle looking. When we get back to our complex, though, we saw the saddest sight I've ever laid eyes on, and coming from me...

Needlenoggin was outside, near our apartment office. Since his wheelchair had been loaded into one of the cars we were using in the drop off, he wasn't able to get in the chair and roll out to search, so he'd propped himself up on his walking sticks and dragged himself, semi-upright, nearly a block, screaming and crying for his dog. When we found him, his voice was already hoarse.

We packed him into the car and continued the search. Needlenoggin called Animal Control and the local emergency vet clinic. Half an hour passed. Then another, then another. I was terrified that she'd sustained internal injuries and had slunk off into the bushes to die somewhere, so I kept looking to the side of the road while he called out. "Please, God," I thought. "Just let it be a broken leg. Let her be alive and not dying and let us find her for him." Needlenoggin decided he needed to go back inside and rest, and so we got him upstairs.

The phone rang. Someone had alerted the cops that they'd seen an injured dog at the bottom of the pedestrian walkway that goes over the railroad tracks:

I started to head back out of the house with Jason and Miss Manhattan. The phone rang again. It was a different officer, and he was getting reports of an injured dog ON the pedestrian bridge. This meant she'd climbed multiple flights of stairs, and was heading into unfamiliar territory.

We got in the car, and the phone rang. Some good Samaritan had picked her up, put her in his car, and was holding her, waiting for instructions from the police. We agreed to meet them near the far side of the walkway, by Amtrak.

She'd traveled over a mile:

Jason and Miss Manhattan climbed into the back of the car, we picked up Tuffy, and came to get Dingo. She was shaking and terrified, with hair missing all over, and skin missing in a bunch of places. Then we say her rear-right leg, where all the skin had been torn away:

It looked pretty mangled, and so Tuffy held her in the passenger seat while we sped away to the all-night Pet ER. A few shots of morphine later, she was calm enough that we could go in and say goodnight, and pay for the xrays and check-up. We finally got home at around midnight, but not before snapping a few pictures with Needlenoggin's phone.

This morning, we went back over, where they told us she had a minor fracture and may require some minor surgery in a few weeks to close her leg wound, but is otherwise in great shape. We paid for the surgical exam and more overnight wound care, and she'll be transferred to a boarding hospital tomorrow where she'll get visits from Needlenoggin every day, but where they can change her bandages as often as she needs and keep her happily medicated.

So tomorrow we move her from the Berkeley ER to the regular hospital (there aren't pet ambulances), and Needlenoggin is going to hold her in his lap.

Cost of first night's visit in the pet ER:
Cost of second night in the pet ER:
Boarding at the hospital for the next 10 days, with meds:
$1500 (approx)
The look on Needlenoggin's face when we were able to tell him she was okay, and coming home?

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's siblings.