I had put him out in the yard at our new place to have dinner (chicken necks! Yum!). We have only very recently moved here and the yard was not quite ideal for dogs.. we had made some temporary adjustments to make it safe enough to put the dog out for a wee but I had still been supervising all of his yard time by watching him from our lounge room window. This night was no different.. he was happily munching away on his necks and I was sitting by the window half watching him, half watching the telly as well. Suddenly my toddler, who was napping in a different room, started to cry. I glanced at Boomer who still had quite a substantial pile of necks to get through (he is such a slow eater!!) and quickly went to grab my little boy. I was gone for maybe 5 minutes?? I didn't feel like a very long time at all.. but however long it was, when I came back with my Elliott in my arms.. Boomer was not where I expected him to be; sitting just under the window finishing his necks. I didn't really panic right away, after all it had only been a few minutes since I'd last seen him.. so I stuck my head out the back door and called his name, fully expecting him to come bounding from around the corner. He didn't come. Unusual for him.. still, I didn't panic yet.
It wasn't until I stepped out into the yard and realized that our crappy little makeshift barricade blocking the huge gap under the fence had been pushed down that the panic really set in. Actually I didn't really panic too much to begin with.. I kept reminding myself that it was only a few minutes since I'd last seen him and he absolutely could not have gotten far in that time. I spent a few moments inwardly kicking myself for being so careless and swearing out loud (classy!) as I searched the yard more thoghourly.. but it quickly became apparent that although *I* felt it was out of character for him, Boomer had gotten out and wandered off. I popped my sleepy toddler into the pusher and set out to search the streets, calling Boomers name and calling people on my phone to come help me look.. and probably looking like a bit of a crazy person! I quickly became discouraged when it became apparent that Boomer had definitely gotten farther away from our house than I thought possible in such a short amount of time.. he was nowhere to be seen. I knew that if he was anywhere in the vicinity and could hear me calling.. he would come. After searching a bit more (in what turned out to be completely the wrong direction!) I decided to head home and start seeing if I could get a hold of anyone at the pounds or council and wait for my friends to come with their cars to help me look for him. I was definitely panicking by this point.
It had now been just under half an hour in total that Boomer had been missing for. I was absolutely beside myself with fear and panic but was trying hard not too cry or get too worked up in front of Elliott (my son) who had definitely started to sense something was very wrong! I kept trying not to think about the possibilities and was desperately hoping that someone had just taken him in for the night and I would get a phone call soon. I remembered suddenly about a page that I had seen on facebook.. a page that I had 'liked' and commented on many times and even made posts on behalf of customers who did not have internet access.. a page that I never thought I would find myself personally needing! LOST DOGS OF ADELAIDE. I typed a hastily worded post saying that my dog had got out of his yard with a loose description of him and of course my phone number. Literally a minute (not even exaggerating!!) after I had clicked 'submit' on my post.. a lady posted this right above my post.
My heart almost stopped beating. I felt sick.. I knew that it was Boomer. It was the last thing I wanted to read but I was so grateful that someone had taken the time to post it, especially because they mentioned that lots of people had stopped for him. I tried to comfort myself with that fact as I strapped my poor toddler back into his pram so we could get to the site of the accident described in the post. Before we could even get out the door, my mobile rang..
Me: "Hello??? Do you have my dog?!" (it could have been ANYBODY.. lol)
Vet: "Hello, yes.. I believe we do. I am from the Animal Emergency Center on Magill Rd and we have an Italian Greyhound male dog microchipped as Boomer in our care."
Me: "Yes, that's him! Is he okay?"
Vet: "He has been hit by a car very recently. He is in shock but seems to be stabilizing.. he appears to be intact with no obvious injuries apart from grazing, unfortunately that's all I can tell you for now. We need to focus on getting him stable enough to examine him further."
Commence the longest 4 hour wait of my life. I knew the vets would be doing everything they could but not knowing the extent of his injuries was absolutely killing me. It wasn't that the vets knew and didn't want to tell me, it was simply that they could not be sure he wasn't seriously injured until they could examine him properly.. and they couldn't examine him properly until he had overcome the shock caused by being hit. The vets were excellent and so understanding.. I tried my hardest but couldn't resist and had to call them once during that time to make sure everything was 'okay'. They told me everything they could and were very kind about it, we appreciated that so much. I'll never wish the feelings of guilt and fear that I had as we waited to see if he would be okay on anybody. As soon as he was stable we were allowed in to see him. He was a bit sorry looking.. :(
He was sedated and very still but awake. He did manage a tiny tail wag when I first walked in that even the vet was surprised to see! We were given the news that he had been examined and appeared to have suffered no major injuries from being hit. We were over the moon.. I do wonder if Boomer is the only Italian Greyhound ever to have been hit by a car on a main road and not sustained a serious injury. They are such a fragile breed.. we were so lucky. I've always been secretly sad that despite how tiny and petite the dogs in his lineage are, Boomer grew to be an absolute hulk of an Iggy that often gets mistaken for a whippet.. but this night I was so very, very grateful that my boy is so big and strong!
To cut a long story shorter.. he ended up with a broken rib and some bruising. That was it! I've said it several times before and I'll keep saying it.. we are so, so lucky. A bit of a bruising and just one broken rib is possibly the best outcome we could have hoped for! Our boy is well and truly on the mend now. We hope to take him to the chiropractor soon just to make sure he is all back in line but he has well and truly got the prance back in his step :).
I hope we never have to go through this again.. we have definitely learnt some important lessons.
1. Make sure your dog is secure at all times. This seems like an obvious one, doesn't it.. I felt like the most terrible dog owner in the world when I realized Boomer had escaped our yard. It only took a few minutes for it to happen and there was no going back once he was out! In future if we are ever under a similar set of circumstances again (moving, etc) and the yard is not up to scratch.. we wont be taking any chances!! Remember at all times that your dog is a dog.. no matter how much they love you, there's always the chance that the urge to wander and explore an interesting smell might make them forget to stay in their yard if there's a hole in the fence!! The yard we have built for Boomer now is like fort knox.. nothing is getting out of it or into it lol.
2. Microchip your dog. If Boomer had not been microchipped.. it may have been a whole night or even days until we found out where he was! I think the stress alone would have killed me. I didn't really think about WHY I was microchipping him when I had him done.. I just got it done, I honestly didn't think I'd ever need it in this capacity. Having experienced just how useful they are in times of great stress I cant reccomend enough that everyone gets their dogs microchipped. Don't be complacent, you just don't know what will happen and when you will find yourself relying on it!
3. Get on facebook and 'LIKE' the Lost Dogs of Adelaide page http://www.facebook.com/adelaidedogs . Even if you think you are the best dog owner in the world and your precious doggie will never escape from you.. do it anyway. I never, ever thought I'd be rushing to an emergency vet in the middle of the night to visit my poor dog who had escaped our yard and got hit by a car on one of the busiest roads in Adelaide.. but that's where I found myself a month ago! Huge wake up call. The LDOA page on facebook is a great resource. Even if you are 100% sure that your dog will never get out.. go and like the page for the fact that other people lose their dogs and maybe one day there will be a dog lost in your neighborhood that you can keep an eye out for :) Or perhaps one day you will come across a lost dog and will be able to reunite it with its owner by finding its picture in the 'Lost Dogs' album - DO IT NOW!
4. If you don't have pet insurance.. make sure you have some savings set aside for emergency vet bills. Even if you do have pet insurance, I think it's good to have a little bit saved up specially for vet bills for piece of mind. I thought we had done pretty well at this.. but unfortunately the money we had saved for vet bills only just covered half of what Boomers emergency vet bill ended up costing. We were lucky that we were able to come up with the balance without too much trouble but I dread to think what would have happened if it had of been much more than it was!
I think that's all from me! Thank you for reading, please post any comments or thoughts on our facebook page :)
A huge thank you to the vets and nursing staff at the Animal Emergency Center in Magill http://www.aecvets.com.au/AEC-Centres/6-AEC-Adelaide.aspx for providing Boomer with such expert care and for keeping us in the loop and behind so kind and understanding about everything.