With RD posting re the little dog missing it has prompted me to recall a few episodes with dogs in my career and three come to mind.
One very cold and snowy night I was driving the ambulance back to base when I saw a blur of movement ahead, I slowed down and a little white object was walking straight at us in the middle of the carriageway. I stopped and a few seconds later there was a bump at the front of the vehicle as it walked into it. I got out and met a Westie covered in snow plodding up the side of the vehicle. I knelt down and spoke softly, on he came until I touched him and he stopped. I called to my mate who was a new trainee and said throw me a blanket. I wrapped up the dog and picked him up. His coat was frozen solid,it was like picking up a big hedgehog. You drive I said I will keep him on my knee, we cranked up the heater. Now I had to tell control something, but what.We were a front line emergency ambulance out on one of the worst nights of the year. I called them up. We have had to pick up a dog walking in the road before it causes an accident, we will drop it my house on the way back and be available asap if that’s ok. Ok was the reply. He was defrosting now and soaking my trousers with freezing water. I phoned ahead, can you put some towels to warm on the aga, I ve got a little dog that needs some help.
I got home and we took him inside dried him off and lay him in front of the open door of the warming oven, I changed my trousers and we called available. The family called our vet and they took him up to the vets an hour later. He had regained his normal temperature and the vet said he was very old, he gave him some pain killers and it was decided he would stay at the vets where he could be quiet instead of our dogs bothering him.
Just after lunch the next day the vet called. Our little frozen friend had been reunited with his owner. A lady had brought her dog into the vets and was from the village close by to where we had found him 15 miles away. On the off chance they asked her if she knew the dog and she recognised him immediately. His owner had him and his brother, she was contacted and came for him immediately over joyed that he was ok.
He is 15 years old blind and deaf and follows his brother around, unfortunately they got separated in the snow and being white was not spottable by the owner. She had spent the night worrying he was dying in the cold alone.
Another night we were running for base my colleague was driving. We were pulling up hill into the start of a dual carriageway when I felt the engine die off, I looked out the front and trotting down lane two was a Great Dane. The blue lights went on and we got out and to my surprise there was a second Dane by my door, I talked to the dog letting it sniff my hand before taking its collar, Mike had hold of the other dog, and the thought we both had was what the heck are we going to do now.The first issue was safety and containment. In those days ambulances carried a rescue kit which contained a forty foot rope so we tied them to a telegraph post well off the road, while wondering if two Danes could up root it. It was a bad spot for the radio but we managed to pass our message and sometime later two police officers arrived, who laughed a lot and disappeared. About an hour later they returned with the owners who were very pleased to gettheir dogs back. How they came to be wandering in the night we never found out.
One wet Friday evening we were called to a road traffic collision in a pub car park. But it turned out not to be a collision. The vehicle was a camper van and in it was a very poorly gentleman who was lying inthe saloon. Sat on the driver and passenger seat were a pair of Border Collies.They just sat there while I examined the patient who was so ill he could not speak and needed to be moved as a matter of urgency. The police had arrived asit was thought to be a crash so I asked him if he could sort the dogs out. His reply was park it in a side street and the owner can do it tomorrow. I said this was not appropriate could he not contact a dog warden or other body to which he was not helpful. So I said ok drive it to my house its on the way to the hospital and I will sort it out, he agreed. I smiled as his uniform was pristine and I had seen the drivers seat.
As he parked it on the drive my family arrived home. I shouted don’t worry I have not bought it, do not open it until I get home.Unfortunately the gentleman had been incontinent as a result of his illness.With that we blasted off to hospital.
I returned home later and took the Collies out for a walk in the local woods, they were as good as gold. As I was feeding them somewhere in the camper a mobile was ringing. I furiously hunted round and fortunately found it before it stopped. Don’t hang up I said, explaining who I was the caller who was a business contact gave me another number. This person informed me off a person near by but they only knew roughly where they lived they had no name and only a bit of the address.
I called the police to see if they could help but theirsystem could not identify the person or produce a phone number. So after a final walk I took the local phone directory and started at A looking for the address bits I had. Eventually I found a reasonable match but it was too late to call.
Morning came and dogs out in the woods and fed again then called the number. This took a bit of explaining but he did know the chap and said he would store the camper but under no circumstances have the dogs and he gave me his address. He gave me a number to call for someone who would have the dogs, unfortunately this was a no go as I had this number yesterday and they too had been very clear on the dog position.
I phoned the hospital and got the sister on the ward he had been admitted to. I told her some of the story, she of course couldn’t say much but she did say he was now awake and all he was saying was where are my dogs, and would I like to speak to him.
I reassured him his dogs were ok being fed watered and walked, he was very relieved. He said a friend would have them, I had to tell him this was not the case as I had already spoken to them. The plan was to take the camper to his friend and as could not keep the dogs they would have to go to a kennels I useif he agreed. He did.
So later on I dropped the dogs at the kennels and the camper van off at his mates.
Three months later when he came out of hospital he went to pick up his dogs, the kennels knocked a few hundred pounds off the bill as they had been so little trouble.