by Diane Romberger
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Last year my husband and I were forced off the interstate at 65 mph in another state by a truck. The truck did not stop and, as we headed down an embankment, the car began to spin and ended up smashed into a stand of trees.
Our 16-year-old dog, Puppy, was with us on our trip because she was having early kidney problems, was on a special diet, and we didn’t want to leave her home with the house sitter. She was thrown from the front seat to the rear seat shelf and sustained several broken ribs and many other internal injuries. While my husband and I were being extricated from the mangled car, the Emergency Medical Service rescue people called for a veterinarian, who came to the accident site to take Puppy for treatment. My husband was unconscious. He was taken from the car after the roof was removed, and was helicoptered to a trauma center. I was transported to a nearby hospital where I was treated for broken ribs, a broken pelvis, embedded glass, and multiple cuts and bruises.
While I was in the emergency room, an EMS man came to my bedside to report on my husband’s flight and arrival at the other medical center, and to tell me that Puppy was with the vet. I explained that she had been ill, was in early renal failure, and was eating low sodium baby food and drinking bottled water. After several hours I was reunited in my hospital room with my husband whose injuries, thankfully, were less serious than originally thought. We both spent the evening in the hospital and the next day our daughter came to take my husband home; I remained in the hospital for three more days.
Puppy, however, died the next evening. About a month later when we received the bill from the vet, we called to thank her for Puppy’s care and the concern she showed our daughter when she stopped in to see Puppy and, later, when she made the arrangements for Puppy’s cremation. The vet told us that, unknown to us at the time, the kind EMS man had come by her hospital with baby food and bottled water for Puppy and told her my story of Puppy’s illness. She also told us that Puppy had other visitors: a man who lived near the accident site and saw Puppy being taken away, and a lady who had stopped at the accident and comforted me through the broken window while my husband was unconscious before the rescue crew arrived.
My husband and I say that we must have had angels around our car because we’re here today; we also know that, although she’s not with us anymore, Puppy had her own “special angels” that day, too — caring people who wanted to make the last few hours of an old dog’s life as comfortable as they could when her owners were unable to be there with her.
Available in The Best of HeroicStories, Volume 2.