“I saw the dog in the backseat. He was awake, but totally motionless.”
A car careered off the road in Langwarrin earlier this month, smashing through road signs and wooden sleepers before colliding with a tree.
Inside the wreck were a man and his dog.
Ambulance Victoria was attending to the driver when CFA crews from Frankston and Langwarrin arrived on the scene.
Career station officer Sam McDonald was among them.
First making sure the man was being treated, he then turned his attention to ‘Ernie’, the seven-year-old American Staffordshire Cross sitting “motionless” on the back seat.
“Being a dog owner myself, I knew straight away that he wasn’t well,” Sam said.
“The poor thing would’ve been thrown around the car pretty bad.”
But when paramedics began walking the man to the ambulance, Sam said Ernie took a turn for the worse.
“He was getting extremely anxious seeing his owner walking away, so we lifted him out of the back seat and laid him on the ground.
“His breathing was laboured, he was very limp, and he was really starting to deteriorate.”
Ernie was given water but refused to drink it, and kept warm by an Ambulance Victoria blanket.
Sam requested a vet to the scene and soon staff from Karingal Veterinary Hospital were taking Ernie away.
“All four of us that attended are dog owners, so we were all touched by it,” Sam said.
Once at hospital, Ernie was found to be suffering from life-threatening injuries, including a ruptured spleen, and quickly rushed to surgery.
With his spleen removed and the operation a success, vets then went one step further and set up a crowd funding page to help the owner.
Within days, thousands of dollars had been raised.
Two days later and Ernie was ready to go home.
“Part of our job is protection of life and property, and life isn’t restricted to human beings,” Sam said.
“So it’s a good result.”