Puppy recovering after being struck by ambulance |

Puppy recovering after being struck by ambulance

Tawnya Panizzi

SHARPSBURG: While racing to help a patient in Etna, the ambulance crew at Seneca Area EMS inadvertently created a second one.

Jesse, a black Labrador-mix puppy, darted in front of the ambulance on Sept. 8 near the 1800 block of Main Street. A back tire rolled over her hind quarters and she sustained a broken femur and fractured pelvis.

That Jesse is the company’s most unusual patient didn’t impede her care. She was paid the same attention — down to a morphine patch to ease her pain — given by Seneca to any human patient. In fact, the ambulance service is taking a bite out of its budget to pay the $3,000 medical bill accrued by the pup.

“The family can’t pay,” said Seneca Director Tony Cuda. “What are you gonna do• We had to help her.”

Cuda is looking for community support to lessen the impact on the emergency service budget which, he said, already is tight. If that fails, Cuda said the expense is one worth the struggle. He said the family would not have been able to afford the care and that they were appreciative of the help. Cuda would not release the name of the family and they could not be reached for comment.

Cuda — who owns four Labradors — said there was never a hesitation to try and save the puppy, who apparently managed to get loose from her yard nearby. She was walking unleashed along the sidewalk before running into the street.

“The ambulance was coming down Main Street when a car yielded to let it by and that scared the dog,” said Brian Dankis, paramedic assistant director. “She just ran right out in front of it.”

Dankis, at the Seneca station nearby, arrived in minutes to tend to Jesse who still was laying in the street, shocked and bleeding from her injuries. Sharpsburg police assisted Seneca in transporting the dog to the Middle Road Veterinary Clinic where she was checked and stabilized. Her injuries were too severe to be cared for there, Cuda said.

Over the next day, the dog was transported first to the Veterinary Emergency Clinic on Butler Street in Shaler, which required payment up-front before operating on the dog.

“We couldn’t do that because we’re a business,” Dankis said. “We could only get them a check during business hours.”

So Jesse was moved again, this time to VCA Castle Shannon Veterinary Hospital where she underwent surgery to mend her broken bones.

Cuda said the Castle Shannon facility was able to most quickly treat Jesse.

“They weren’t the closest, but they were the most available,” he said.

On Friday, a heavily sedated Jesse returned home via Seneca ambulance from her three-day hospital stay. Dankis, Cuda and paramedic Mary Kovac cooed over the weary dog as if it were a newborn baby coming home, and, though groggy from her experience, Jesse seemed content to lay back and accept the attention.

“She’s so sweet,” Dankis said, petting the dog. “Even when she was hurt, she never snapped at us.”

Additional Information:

To Donate

Anyone interested in donating to Jesse’s care can send a check payable to Seneca Area EMS, 1885 Main St., Sharpsburg, PA, 15215, or call 412-781-8596.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.