Community Helps Pay for Dog's Medical Costs After Accident

Life can change in an instant. Cyntia Morales was walking her two dogs, when she was suddenly struck by a vehicle. "She was on the sidewalk, she wasn't crossing the street, she was going her normal route," her daughter, Adriana Pachaco, said of the incident. "Unfortunately, instead of making a left or a right, which you're supposed to do at the stop sign, the driver didn't stop and decided to go straight and just completely ran over my mom."

Occurring on October 24th, Cyntia was rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, one of her dogs, 11 year old Shih Tzu, Charlie, passed away at the scene. 5 year old Shih Tzu, Bruno, was rushed to an Emergency Vet by Animal Protection Police. To help Morales recover from her injuries, the community rallied around her and raised funds to pay for Bruno's medical expense.

"It was amazing that all the community came together to help," Pachaco says. "I could never thank anyone enough for what they did for Bruno. It shows me there are still people that are willing to help and want to help. And it makes me feel so heart warmed that people are so selfless."

Upon arriving at the Animal Hospital, the hard work began to save the sweet pup. "I spoke to the Veterinarian on the phone, and they said, 'This little dog Bruno is not doing well,'" remembers Reasa Currier, director of the Fairfax County Department of Animal Sheltering. "He had a leg fracture, abrasions, and just a lot of bruising from being struck by the vehicle and hitting the pavement with so much force. They said, 'This is going to be very expensive to treat him.'"

Currier then reached out to nonprofit Friends of Fairfax County Animal Shelter, which raises money to care for "animals in emergency situations where animals need extraordinary care." This group started a Facebook page fundraiser and quickly amassed $8,200. 

"It just shows you that no matter what, you can count on people to be there. This poor woman had such a devastating thing happen to her," says Evelyn Grieve, the president of the Friends of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. "They opened their hearts and said, 'We're here. We want to help.'"

Following the outpouring of support, Currier was able to call Morales's daughter and tell her that Bruno's medical costs had been covered and she could focus on her mother's recovery. Bruno was under round-the-clock observation for the two days he spent at the hospital. The pup received x-rays, an ultrasound, blood work, and pain meds. Upon further evaluation, it was discovered that he had a broken leg, but it did not require a cast. 

"When they took him, they thought that his injuries were a lot worse than what they were. They told me they were life-threatening injuries," Pachaco says. "But they said he just has a broken leg and obviously road rash all over his belly. And he was just really shaken up."

"Bruno did so great. We were all incredibly impressed with his resiliency," Currier says. "When he came in, he was really shut down. I think he was probably in shock just from what had happened. Within 24 hours, he was doing so much better."

Bruno is now back home with his family. "It was just a really wonderful reunion," Currier says. "Bruno's just so happy to be at home with his family. It just brings tears to my eyes. This is really why we do this work. Sheltering animals is one aspect of the work that we do here at the Fairfax County Animal Shelter. We provide so many other services and have so many other resources and programs that are really designed just to keep pets together with their people."

The medical costs for him totaled around $3,000, so the remainder of the money was donated to Finnegan's Fund, which is an organization that helps pay for the medical expenses of dogs in need of emergency care. 

"Bruno's the one that was the most attached to my mom," she says. "Bruno was literally her shadow. He followed her anywhere, to the bathroom, to the kitchen, anywhere she would move to, he would go. So I know him being away from my mom is super hard, probably on both of them. My mom has been asking about her dogs every single day."

According to her daughter, Morales has seven broken ribs on one side, eight broken ribs on the other, a punctured lung, a broken sternum, and multiple fractures in her skull from the accident. "They're hoping she'll make a recovery. They don't know," Pachaco says.

"Doctors are hoping that with time and lots of therapy that she'll be able to recover." Since being hit by a car, Morales has lost movement on the left side of her body, and her speech is delayed and slurred due to the brain injury. If you would like to donate to help Morales's recovery, a GoFundMe has been established.

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