The little things can mean so much.Â Ron Ayotte
I was coming back from a traffic incident management course put on in Worcester by MASS DOT on the afternoon of September 24th and was about 2 minutes out from Headquarters in traffic on West Main Street when I heard the tones drop for a reported pedestrian accident at the intersection of Granger Boulevard and Florence Street. Our response for a pedestrian accident is the Engine Company in the district and Rescue 1 along with Car 2, the command vehicle.
Engine 3 was heading to HQ to drop off inspection paperwork and was at the intersection of Granger Boulevard and South Bolton Street, just a block away from the incident. They took the call for Engine 1 and Rescue 1 responded from HQ. I turned on the red lights and siren and responded. Fire Alarm gave a quick update, stating that there was a pedestrian and a dog struck by a car.Â Â My heart sank a little upon hearing that, as my wife and I love dogs.
When I arrived, crews from 3 Engine, Rescue 1 and Patriot P6 (our EMS/Transport provider) were tending to the patient, who was on the sidewalk. Her dog, a 15 to 20 pound terrier mix was in the middle of the road and severely injured. One of the police officers on the scene covered the dog with a sheet.
Since my personnel had the situation under control, I turned my attention to the dog. . The dog was bleeding and breathing heavily; his legs were twitching and he felt cold to the touch. I called Fire Alarm to have the Cityâ€™s Animal Control Officer (ACO) respond. From looking at the dog and my â€œpeople EMSâ€ experience, I knew the dog would not survive.
There was nothing I could do for the dog except give it some comfort via gently touching him and talking to him. His breathing slowed down, and while touching him I could feel that his ribs were broken. The dogâ€™s owner was in tears as she was being loaded into the bus.
Once she was in the rig, my personnel gathered around the dog, shielding it from the view of bystanders, including some children. There was no need for them to see the poor animal suffer. The ACO very gently picked the dog up with the assistance of my personnel and placed him in a crate; a member of 3 Engine helped him put the crate in the back of his vehicle. It appeared that the dog had died from his injuries. The ACO was going to bring the dog to Tufts Veterinary Medical Center, where they could keep the dog until his owner could recover him.
That evening, I posted what happened on my Facebook page, a friend suggested I get the womanâ€™s address and let her know that her dog did not die alone, that he â€œcrossed the bridgeâ€ with a humanâ€™s touch and compassion.
This morning, I went out to run errands, one of them was to go to Pets Gone Healthy to get food for our dogs. While I was in the store, I picked up a pet sympathy card to mail to her. This afternoon, I found out that when the ACO brought the dog into Tufts, he started whimpering. He was still alive at that point! The dog was placed in a medically induced coma and was still alive as of 9:00 PM that evening.
I still have the card in my personal vehicle; the ACO will keep me updated. If the dog passes on, I will give his owner condolences on behalf of the FD and the crews of Engine 3 and Rescue 1, who gave a bit of compassion to help one of Godâ€™s creatures.
Â Photo courtesy of Lloyd Mitchell Photography, used with permission