Amazing Rescues: Canine Hit-and-Run Victim Saved in Cemetery

April 21, 2012 | By Margo Ann Sullivan | Category: Heroes | 2 comments
Tags: heroes, adoption & rescue, charity, strange but true

Postal Service employee becomes dog's best friend.

A hike in the woods nearly ended in disaster for Tessie, but the six-year old Boston terrier is home safe, thanks to a Postal Service employee who became a dog's best friend.

Tessie wandered away from her dog walker on Jan. 6, according to owner, Kathy Noons of South Boston. The dog walker was taking pictures of the dogs playing in a parking lot and not paying close attention. Tessie disappeared into downtown Medford, Mass. and was hit by a car in Arlington, the next town over. Hurt and panicked, the dog bolted away, too fast for passersby who tried to help.

A Postal Service employee found Tessie the next morning in a graveyard where she had almost frozen.

Noons and her husband had searched for Tessie until darkness forced them to quit for the night. During the afternoon, complete strangers had joined the hunt and went out of their way to spread the word about the lost dog.

"You can think nobody really cares," she said, but everyone she met tried to help. Before she went home, Noons talked to police in Medford, Arlington and Winchester, and the officers tried to reassure her. Some Good Samaritan would find Tessie and take her in, the police said.

The Postal Service newswire turned out to be the break that saved Tessie's life.

Letter carriers and Postal Service employees knew about a lost dog because Noons' friend, Charlotte Ritson, who works at the Chestnut Hills (Mass.) Post Office, issued an alert over the Postal Service newswire. After Tessie was discovered, Ritson contacted Arlington police.

The police told Ritson the dog in the cemetery was dead, but Ritson went to the cemetery to check. Tessie, it turned out, was still alive.

Tessie was conscious, Noons said, and knew Ritson and also recognized Noons when she arrived.

"I lifted her up; from the waist down she was limp," Noons said. "I was afraid I was going to hurt her." But she wrapped Tessie in a blanket and held the dog in her arms while husband drove through Boston traffic to Angell Animal Medical Center.

It wasn't a long trip, but all the way Noons feared they would be too late.

"She was just zoning out; I kept thinking I was losing her," Noons said.

According to Rob Halpin, spokesman for Angell Animal Medical Center, Tessie's pulse was "barely perceptible" when she arrived in emergency.

"Dr. Ashley Davis evaluated her. Tessie's heart rate was very low, " he said. "She was minimally responsive and had no readable blood pressure." Tessie also needed surgery.

"Every bone in Tessie's pelvis was broken in multiple places." Halpin said. She needed surgery, but doctors had to wait before they could operate, according to Dr. Nicholas Trout, the orthopedic surgeon.

"There were no guarantees," Noons said about whether Tessie would live or ever walk again.

"Her biggest problem was she didn't have one good back leg to stand on, literally," Trout said. "She was hospitalized for several days prior to undergoing anesthesia," he went on to explain. "On presentation, she was not stable for anesthesia due to her low body temperature and shock. She was stabilized with gradual warming, intravenous fluids to treat her shock and pain meds. We also realized she had a traumatic hemoabdomen (internal bleeding) which was closely monitored and resolved without surgical intervention."

As for picking Tessie up, Noons did the right thing, he said. The ideal way, he added, is to use a blanket or towel, try to keep the animal from moving around and be aware the dog might bite due to pain.

Trout said last week he expects Tessie to make a full recovery.

Dr. Lisa Moses, head of the hospital's Pain Management Service, designed a treatment plan that would bring Tessie all the way back to her old self, Halpin said.

"We are so lucky," Noons said. Tessie will continue to go to Angell for checkups, but she has finished acupuncture treatments and physical therapy.

"She is walking with all four paws on the ground now," she said, and she continues to give her massages and work on her leg muscles.

If she had everything to do over, Noons would never have given the dog walker permission to let Tessie off leash, she said. They had had a running battle about the leash. Tessie had been the only leashed dog in the group, Noons said, but the dog walker insisted "the leash of shame," wasn't necessary and that Tessie would come when called. The dog walker e-mailed Noons at work with pictures of Tessie playing stick with the other dogs.

"It was all great until it wasn't. I should have stuck to my guns," Noons said. She can't imagine how she would have felt if the family had really lost Tessie.

"A dog is part of the family," she said.

Pictured: Tessie, a 6-year-old Boston Terrier, spent a night in a graveyard after she became separated from a dog walker in downtown Medford and hit by a car on Jan. 6. Her owner, Kathy Noons, said this week the dog is making a good recovery following surgery and physical therapy at Boston's Angell Animal Medical Center. (Photo Courtesy of Kathy Noons)

What do you think of Tessie's story? Have you heard about another dog who was separated from a dog walker? Tell us below!

Comments (2)

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Stacy H.

Stacy H.
3 years ago

I walk dogs and would never intentionally let someone elses dog off a leash. Leash of shame should be put on the dog walker. I have one little Scottie that has caught me off guard twice and yanked an extendable leash out of my hand. Both times she thought she was being pursued by that peice of plastic and ran in a panic into the road. She now has to use a regular nylon leash, I cannot risk loosing her. Glad Tessie had so many people looking out for her and this story had a happy ending.

Good Point | Reply ›


3 years ago

No, but I have a story that is close I used to have a female cocker spaneil named Lady she was such a nice dog that we got from some one who could no longer keep her cause their daughter was allergic one day sadly Lady had gotten loose and she loved to wander she got hit by a car it ended her life so Tessie is really lucky that some one cared enough to help her family find her!

Good Point | Reply ›

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