As a certified veterinary technician, I’ve had the opportunity to care for several injured dogs throughout my career. My work in emergency medicine has brought me face-to-face with many four-legged friends in need, but there’s one case that touched my heart in a special way. It happened almost five years ago when I arrived at the animal hospital ready to begin my usual shift. That’s when I saw a tiny puppy on the treatment table, nursing multiple wounds and visibly shaken from what must have been a traumatic experience.
As the current caregiver was tending to other animals, I decided to take in the injured puppy and provide her with my own care. I remember being taken aback by the numerous puncture wounds on her small body and admiring her strength despite her ordeal. Upon learning more about her situation, it became clear just how dire the puppy’s circumstances were.
The young dog had suffered injuries from a vicious attack by two larger dogs, causing her to be thrown around like a rag doll. The owner, excited to introduce her new puppy to friends, placed her on the ground next to their older dogs without proper introduction. To her surprise, the older dogs attacked the young pup. We were faced with a critical situation as the 6-week-old puppy’s life was in danger, but the owner didn’t fully comprehend the severity of the situation. Although she was old enough to bring a pet to us, she lacked the knowledge and understanding of the necessary care for the puppy moving forward.
Following a series of examinations, it was discovered that she had sustained numerous severe injuries. Her injuries included multiple fractured ribs, a shattered thigh bone, a broken hip, and she was experiencing shock due to the trauma. In the event that she pulled through, her recovery would be a long and strenuous journey.
The young owner realized that she was unable to provide the puppy with the necessary care moving forward and was contemplating taking her home in her current condition. I felt a strong connection to the puppy’s wellbeing and decided to offer my assistance by taking her in as my own. Without delay, she was entrusted into my care, and my journey with this lovely puppy began.
Upon giving her the endearing nickname of Ellie, our voyage towards healing began. The reason I use the term “our” is due to the personal challenges I was confronting at the moment since I had some issues to resolve in my own life. Ellie entered my life precisely when I was overcoming my addiction and assisted me during the most challenging task I had ever faced.
Ellie had to undergo a hip repair called FHO, along with fixing external fixators in her femur for a period of 8 weeks. This required her to stay in the hospital to recover from the shock she experienced. Though the treatment was long and difficult, it was worth it as it helped Ellie become the playful puppy she always wanted to be once again after her fixators were removed.
Ellie proved to be an amazing friend who supported me during my toughest times, including sleepless nights, unbearable grief and every challenge that I faced during my journey to sobriety.
After being sober for 5 years, I credit a large portion of my accomplishment to the generosity that was shown to me during my darkest moments by someone who means everything to me – Ellie, my heart dog. I cannot envision a life without her by my side.