Sabrina at Home

by Susan Linden on Friday, February 3, 2012

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in Happy Endings

Early in the afternoon on Tuesday, January 19, 2010, we received an email from Sheila, a volunteer from Noah’s Hope, an all-breed rescue group in Sioux City, Iowa. A young Dalmatian had been hit by a car and taken to the local impound facility. Sheila had insisted that the Dal get immediate vet care at Siouxland Animal Hospital.

Sabrina at the vet's in Sioux City, Iowa

Sabrina at the vet's in Sioux City, Iowa


The x-ray taken at Siouxland revealed that Sabrina’s pelvis had been fractured. Part of it had, in fact, been “pulverized,” explained the vet in Sioux City. He was not optimistic that anything could be done. Sabrina was being given medication for pain and kept comfortable. Animal Control is required to hold all dogs for eight days to allow time for owners to find and claim them.

Two days later, when no owner had appeared, we began making plans to transport Sabrina to Illinois. Dr. Steven Abel, a board certified surgeon at VCA Aurora Animal Hospital, had repaired Dals for us in the past, and I wanted him to see Sabrina before we gave up hope.

On Saturday, January 23, on a very foggy afternoon, Sabrina took her long trip from Sioux City to Aurora. The Noah’s Hope volunteer met Tish, one of our volunteers in mid-Iowa, and Tish brought her to the state line, where Mark, another Dal Rescue volunteer, picked her up. Tish emailed me that afternoon: “She was so well mannered and such a calm little girl. While we were waiting for her ride she just curled up with her head on my lap and went to sleep.” Mark took Sabrina to VCA and stayed with her until she was all checked in.

Sabrina prepares to leave VCA after surgery.

Sabrina prepares to leave VCA

Surgery was performed on Monday, January 25. Dr. Abel was able to put Sabrina’s pelvis back together with, he told me, “plates, screws, pins and wires.” The surgery was, one of the resident vets told me later that week, “a work of art.” A long recovery period would, however, be necessary. Sabrina would need to be kept nearly immobile for about four weeks.


On Wednesday, January 27, Sabrina was released from the hospital. She was outfitted with a special vest that would help to keep her hips in place. Mark was on hand to help and wish her well.

She came home with me. A quiet month followed. She was an excellent patient, and very well-behaved.

Sabrina on the water treadmill

Sabrina learns to walk in water.

She recovered nicely and, on February 24, we returned to VCA for the first of four rehabilitation sessions. She learned to walk in the water treadmill, and Melissa, the therapist, taught us exercises to do at home. Dr. Abel was very happy with her progress.

Sabrina, now named Annie, at home with Yeager

Sabrina, now named Annee, at home with Yeager

At the end of March, Sabrina was spayed, microchipped, and vaccinated. She was walking like a pro!

She was ready for a new home.

On April 2, 2010, Sabrina went home with Paula and Darell to 3.5 beautiful country acres in central Illinois, where she is living happily ever after. She has a brother named Yeager, who is a setter mix. They now call her Annee. She runs like the wind, Darell told me, and “on all four legs.”

Many, many of our adopters and friends contributed to help pay Sabrina’s expenses, which totaled nearly $5000. We thank all of you for helping to give a new life to this beautiful Dalmatian.

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