Posted on June 14, 2015
Service Dog Goes Above and Beyond the Call of Duty
An eight-year-old Golden Retriever named Figo (pronounced “FEE-go”) is my new hero. Figo is a devoted service dog and he recently demonstrated his devotion by putting his life on the line for his human companion Audrey Stone who is legally blind.
On June 8th Audrey and Figo went out for their daily walk in Brewster, New York. While crossing a street they were approached by a mini school bus. The bus driver failed to see the twosome, but Figo clearly saw the mini bus moving towards them. Witnesses at the scene describe Figo leaping to action by moving from his companion’s right side to her left, literally putting himself between Audrey and the bus. In spite of his efforts, Audrey and Figo were both seriously injured.
Audrey Stone is in stable condition at Danbury Hospital, recovering from a fractured elbow and ankle, three broken ribs, and a cut to her head. Fifteen miles away from where Audrey is recovering, Figo is also in stable condition at Middlebranch Veterinary, located in Carmel New York. Figo’s right front leg went under the bus resulting a mild break in the bone as well as severe trauma to the skin and deeper tissues.
Surgery was performed on Figo’s leg, and he is receiving antibiotics and pain medication. Multiple bandage changes will be required throughout his recovery. Dr. Angela O’Donnell, the attending veterinarian reports that Figo is on the mend. “He won’t have to wear the cone of shame. He’s a good boy and he’s leaving his bandage alone. That points to the strides he’s making. If it was bothering him more, he probably would be chewing at it.” O’Donnell also reported that an anonymous benefactor has offered to pay for Figo’s veterinary care.
While lying in her hospital bed, Audrey Stone talked about Figo, her third service dog. When she met Figo, “We hit it off immediately. He protects me, he loves me, and vice versa. We just have a strong connection.” Stone said that she doesn’t remember much about the accident, but she clearly recalls the image of a wounded Figo crawling to be by her side. Witnesses concur reporting that, following the trauma, Figo remained intent on staying by his Audrey’s side. He didn’t stop struggling until she was taken away by ambulance. Audrey was quoted as saying, “He needs the Purple Heart from the president.” I couldn’t agree with her more!
Here’s hoping for smooth and speedy recoveries for Audrey and Figo, and may they be reunited very soon.
Has your dog ever gone above and beyond the call of duty for you or a member of your family?
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at www.speakingforspot.com, Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.