Community, animal shelter raise more than $1K to help Highway, local canine struck by vehiclePublished 10:50am Friday, August 23, 2013
What follows is hopefully the beginning of a happy ending, though the start is sort of rocky.
Shortly before closing time Aug. 9 night, a young couple came into the Lake Martin Animal Shelter with a dog that appeared to be hit by a car.
Shelter director Mia Chandler said the dog was not bearing weight on his back right leg, but otherwise appeared to be faring well.
“He was not in shock or distress,” Chandler said. “His eyes weren’t dilated – he was alert.”
Chandler said that animal shelters usually accept based on a geographical area, due to the way funding works. Though Highway, the name the shelter has been using for the golden-retriever mix, was from Coosa County, Mia said she accepted the dog based on a medical emergency.
The first step was assessing the situation, Chandler said.
“We run an X-ray – one view but no more than two – to see if the animal is suffering and if it needs immediate medical attention,” Chandler said.
The X-ray revealed Highway had a severe break in his back right leg. Highway lacked an ID tag with contact information, and an owner never came forward to claim the ailing canine. Chandler decided to take action quickly.
“In my mind, I am thinking of amputation,” Chandler said. “Your body tries to heal itself, but if you don’t act quickly, your options change.”
Dr. Gavin Smith, however, had good news. The X-ray showed the break was fresh, leaving orthopedic reconstruction still on the table. With the window of opportunity still open, Highway went into surgery Aug. 13. When he emerged from surgery, his leg had been rebuilt using pins and rods, but Chandler said he was as happy as could be.
“His tail was wagging a mile a minute,” Chandler said.
Highway is currently on six weeks of cage-confined recovery. Chandler thinks the procedure will cost around $1,000, including one more operation to remove the hardware in his leg. She turned to Facebook, and by Thursday Aug. 22, a generous donation of $500 from a local couple took her over her goal.
In the animal shelter business, it is difficult to get too invested in what looks like a good outcome. Such was the story of Phoenix, who was rescued, made a promising great recovery then died unexpectedly a few weeks later, Chandler said.
But right now, Chandler thinks Highway might be on the road to recovery and hopefully well on his way to a forever home. The Lake Martin Animal Shelter can be contacted at 256-234-5533.