Owner: Aminata Faye-Roth, from Killiney, Co Dublin
Pet: Finn, her one-year-old Irish Doodle
Problem: Finn unexpectedly dashed into the road and into the path of a car
The crisis happened just as Aminata returned home from school. Her mother's boyfriend, Eamonn, was on the driveway outside the house, cleaning the inside of his car. Finn, was strolling beside him, as he often does. The house is half way along a quiet cul-de-sac, with virtually no passing traffic. Finn treats the front driveway like the back garden: a peaceful place to sit, lie or stroll around.
The next sequence of events happened rapidly. Aminata arrived back from school, but she was on the opposite side of the car to Finn, so he didn't see her. Finn adores her so Eamonn spoke to him, saying, "She's back from school".
Finn reacted unexpectedly: it was as if he didn't realise that Aminata was only a few yards away and he wanted to run down the road to greet her. His ears shot up, all alert, and he bolted down the cul-de-sac, running full tilt towards the busy main road. Eamonn and Aminata shouted after him, but it was as if he didn't hear – he just kept running.
They sprinted after him as the dog went out of view around the corner on to the main road, and then there was a loud thump, followed by the sound of a dog squealing in pain. When they turned the corner, they saw Finn sprawled in a heap at the edge of the road. A lady standing at a bus stop saw it all happen. Finn had run across the road without pausing to check for traffic.
A car, driving past at speed had hit Finn full on the side. Finn had been sent flying into the air, over the top of the car. The car had not even slowed down, heading off into the distance without stopping to see what had happened.
Aminata gave all her attention to Finn. The dog had stopped squealing, and there was no obvious injury, with no sign of blood. Eamonn helped her to lift him awkwardly into the back of the car and then he drove them both to our clinic at once. When I heard about the massive impact that the dog had suffered, I expected serious internal injuries. Finn was admitted to our hospital, and given treatment for shock and pain while we assessed him. He was examined from head to tip of tail, and X-rays were taken. Astonishingly, he seemed to have survived with nothing more than serious bruising: there were no broken bones.
For the first 24 hours, we worried about internal injuries that are common in such situations, but by the following day, Finn was eating normally, drinking water and passing urine and faeces. He was lame on his left back leg, but given the
thump that he'd received on his rear end, this was not surprising. He has been treated with pain relief and rest, and so far, his recovery has continued to be steady and smooth.
Aminata still wonders what made Finn bolt. Was he looking for her? Was he chasing something? The mystery remains, but Aminata has learned two lessons.
First, Finn now has a long, loose rope trailing from his collar when he is in the front garden: the next time he bolts, someone will be able to stop him. And second, Aminata's family have taken out pet insurance: it so happened that Finn did not need major veterinary interventions, but it could so easily have been very different, and the costs could have been high. They don't want to get caught out like this in the future: if it does happen again, pet insurance will cover the cost.
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