My Turn: Searching for help after 6 p.m.
On Thursday, July 20, my husband and I were driving west on Highway 28 at about 6 p.m. We noticed something in the middle of the road, slowed down, and saw a young man about 25 years old bent over his dog, crying.
His wife, or girlfriend, was wailing on her driveway. We pulled over and stopped. Animal lovers in the extreme, I got out of the car quickly and ran to the young man. I didn’t need to ask him what had happened. It was clear his dog had been hit by a passing car, which was waiting up ahead, it’s driver frozen in pain and sorrow.
The dog’s name was Todi, a beautiful shepherd mix. I learned through the young man’s sobs that Todi was 11 years old, still alive but obviously profoundly hurt. I grabbed my cell phone and called the Lake Forest Veterinary Pet Clinic and got an answering machine referring me to an emergency number, which I dialed only to receive directions to go to Carson City or Reno for emergency pet care.
Now there was a crowd of concerned on-lookers. I called Kings Beach, Truckee ,Tahoe Vista, and Tahoe City. The same thing happened ” a recording directed me to Carson City or Reno. Thankfully, the neighbors had found a piece of plywood, which they very carefully and tenderly placed under Todi. Someone covered him in a blanket. Others removed the seat from our Ford Expedition in order to create space for Todi and his owner in the back. We drove quickly to the Lake Forest Pet
Clinic only minutes away, calling 911 while we drove hoping they would locate a pet clinic with a real person available to help us. 911, caring though they were, could not reach a real person either, no matter how many numbers they called.
Lake Forest clinic was closed. In shock, almost 45 minutes after we came upon the scene, we drove to the fire station in Tahoe City, our last hope. The sobs continued unabated. We rang the emergency bell, and two firemen came out quickly. They examined Todi, saw he was still alive and went into the fire station to make the same calls we did, only to discover what we feared. Only in Carson City, or Reno could we get help.
The firemen were as distressed as we were at the lack of help for injured animals after 6 p.m. How could it be that in such a dog- and cat-friendly community not one vet could be reached in an emergency after hours?
Todi’s owners, exhausted from their grief were determined to drive to Carson City.
With voices laced with despair they asked if we would please drive them back to their house in Cedar Flat. When we arrived at their home, we carefully transferred Todi on the plywood plank to their Jeep. They both hugged us hard, and in quiet desperation, holding tight to the directions the fire department had given them, drove off to Carson City an hour or more after the accident occurred.
We never did get their names, nor did we ever tell them ours. It just didn’t seem important. We don’t know if Todi made it. We hope he did. That night, we hugged and kissed our dog more than ever.
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