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Java: Portrait of a Dog

March 6, 2009

Those of you who watch family guy will recognize that title as the episode where Brian runs away from home because of an incident at a dog show and then eventually comes back after going on trial. Well this is kind of like that. Except instead of running away then being hauled away by the police and coming back at the end of a trial, Java ran away and was hit by a car going 50mph on a main road. Ok so those two are not like each other but I wanted to use the title.

We got a call on Sunday while we were wrapping things up at church and the guy on the other end just asked me if our dog was named Java because she had just gotten hit by a car. He said that he would stay with her until we showed up which was about ten minutes later. By the time we got there there were two more cars pulled over to the side of the road (it is a grid street six lanes plus the turn lanes, Higley and Germann for those of you who live in Phoenix) and several other people gathered around her down in the bike trail that is off the side of the road.

The account that the guy who called was that he was the car behind the car of the woman who actually hit Java and that she was hit so hard that she flipped and rolled over five or six times before finally coming to a stop. When the guy got out to see if Java was alright she got up and took off running. He chased her and so did a passing guy on a bike for about a mile before she finally started sucumming to her injuries and layed down which is when they got my phone number off of her tags. They were all so nice, giving her some first aid as best as they could from a first aid kit, waiting until we got there and even calling back later in the evening to see how she was doing.

We got there and it was pretty obvious that she was in bad shape, she was bleeding out of her nose and mouth a little bit but there was nothing really obviously wrong with her. But she was not moving and her breathing was labored and her heart was racing. I picked her up and brought her over to our car and we took her to the emergency vet (on a side note emergency vets charge twice as much for the extra one day a week they are open) where they immediately took her in and said she was in critical condition and the doctor was “not optimistic” about her chances to live.

I am not a “animal lover.” I make fun of those people who make dentist appointments for their dogs and put hats on them the same as you do. However, I am also not so cold hearted that I can just watch an animal that I have spent time training and that follows my every movement just bleed out and die on the side of the road. Well it turns out that according to the doctor she had some cuts on her liver and spleen and her abdominal cavity was filling with blood. We were allowed to go back and see her and it was pretty bad. She was all wrapped in compression bandages with a mask just letting in extra oxygen and the heart monitor showed her sustained heart rate at over 200bmp. Pretty much the doctor said that even if we gave them permission to do surgery or put her on a ventilator it was not likely to do any good.

So we decided that as long as we did our due diligence our conciences would be clear. We authorized compression and fluids and some pain medication and then finally left the vet waiting for a call to give us an update. That was at around 3:30pm.

We got a call at 7:30 or so that evening saying that Java had actually turned a corner and her heart rate finally was dropping back down to normal. By the next morning when we called, the vet said Java had been sitting up on her own looking around and was even walking and peeing (apparently the bladder getting crushed is the fatal part of getting hit by a car the majority of the time).

So we picked her up on Monday morning and she has been getting gradually better all week. She has been on some pain medication that we have for her and she has been out of it pretty much until yesterday afternoon. When I got home yesterday it was really kind of the first time that she acted more like she used to, coming over to the door when she heard the garage door open and wagging her tail a bunch when I let her in, chasing her toy that I threw for her.

It is good to have a dog that is such a beast. She does (not sure when this will start again) nothing but run laps in the back yard all day long. Most of the time Erin and I have just laughed at her being stupid and hyper, but I think that her overly strong heart and extremely toned muscles not only kept her heart going for four hours at 200bmp but also kept her from getting any breaks or fractures in her whole body.

So there you have it. Our dog lived through being hit by a car. She may be a bit crazy but it was kind of tough to think about not hearing her tag jingling when she would come running to my call.

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