Sarah O’Brien’s 16-month-old Great Dane cross was hit by two separate vehicles near a bus stop on Scenic Drive, just south of 16 Avenue South in Lethbridge, on July 23. His front right leg was shattered and had to be amputated.
The family initially received criticism, as people thought JD had been running around off-leash near their Scenic Heights apartment.
But what actually happened was O’Brien’s mother, Laurel, was out walking with him.
Along the way she tripped, fell and suffered a head injury. She was bleeding and was later diagnosed with a concussion. During the time she was down, JD went running off and ended up on Scenic Drive.
Laurel made it back to the apartment and woke up her daughter to explain the situation. O’Brien then went running outside where witnesses told her that JD was struck twice: he was first hit by a car, then ran over by an SUV. Neither driver stopped.
The first person to stop was a Lethbridge Transit bus driver who grabbed JD and took him off the road.
The family has been trying to contact and identify her, in order to thank her, but have been unsuccessful thus far.
Lethbridge Animal Services was then called and they took him to the Family Pet Hospital.
“They gave us the three options of: we can save his leg, amputate or put him down,” O’Brien said. “To do any of it, we needed cash in hand. We didn’t and we were saying goodbye to him.”
O’Brien then posted an update to her Facebook account.
“I’m like ‘whoever hit this dog on Scenic, that was my puppy. Next time, please slow down. I don’t care if you come forward, just slow the hell down. Because we don’t have cash in hand we’ve got to put him down,” she said.
The family had already signed the paperwork order to euthanize JD. But O’Brien looked at her phone one last time before it was enacted and saw a response by Deanna Tumala, saying that Lethbridge’s No-Kill Animal Association (NOKA) has an emergency medical fund and would be able to help out and will allow the family to make payment arrangements at a later time.
“That’s where NOKA stepped up huge,” Tumala said. “What hit me is that I had the exact same thing happen to my dog. We were able to save the leg, but it cost us $7,500 by the time it was all said and done.”
Tumala even called around to get quotes for the amputation and found the best rate was at the Taber Animal Clinic. JD, who also suffered a significant contusion on his front left leg and several broken teeth, had emergency surgery on July 24.
He is expected to recover from the other injuries, but his life expectancy will now be affected because of weight distribution now concentrated to the front left leg.
“Instead of living the eight to 10 years he would normally live, he’s probably only going to live five or six years,” O’Brien said.
“But at least it’s those five or six years we’re going to have with him now. If it wasn’t for NOKA and Taber we wouldn’t even have him right now. Without the donations we received, and everything else, he wouldn’t be here.”