Caleigh, Stay Strong

On Friday, August 24, our dog, Caleigh, was severely injured in the woods at Cranbury Park while jumping over a fallen tree. She must have gotten caught on a branch sticking up, which caused the skin on her arm to get cut and peel halfway down, leaving her torn muscles exposed. I was alone and panicking, and while this was a horrific event, the support that I received thereafter is nothing short of a miracle, and my heart is absolutely filled with gratitude. I immediately picked my dog up and began carrying her up the path to the clearing. I saw a couple walking on the trail and I yelled to them for help. These two individuals, Norwalk Resident Jodie Hanson-Doughtery and her partner, Stéphane Paquette, along with their sweet dog, Otis, jumped into action. They each exemplified what it is to be a Good Samaritan, and they went above and beyond to help a complete stranger, me, in need. Jodie helped me carry my dog to the clearing, and her partner, Stéphane, went to go get the two police officers that happened to be on duty working an event at the park that day. Once we laid Caleigh down on the grass, Jodie stayed there with her and I ran to the police officers.

Officers Richard Montañez and Kyle Lipeika are the two officers that I speak of, and I will be forever grateful for their help.

When the officers realized that their animal care bag was no match for my dog’s wounds, they called animal patrol with urgency, and requested that they get there as soon as possible. They stressed how important it was that my dog needed to receive immediate attention. They remained calm, and when the Dog Warden, Robert Sirico, arrived, they helped him carry my dog on the stretcher into the animal control van. Robert Sirico absolutely deserves recognition as well, as he arrived to Cranbury Park promptly, and once Caleigh (my dog) was put in the van, he drove us to VCA Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center on West Cedar Street as quickly and safely, as he could. Robert Sirico called the VAC at least two times to make sure that the team was ready for our arrival.

That Friday, Caleigh underwent emergency surgery. Her wound was flushed out, her muscles were sutured, and her skin was sutured. She was blessed that her organs were not punctured, and no major arteries.

Due to the nature of the wound and the amount of contamination, despite the wound being cleaned and the skin being sutured, we were forewarned that some of the skin might not survive.

On Tuesday, August 27, I noticed gaping holes forming in Caleigh’s skin. They got progressively worse throughout the evening, and another area was ripping open. The tissue was dying.

We made an appointment with the surgeon for the next morning, and she had a second surgery on Wednesday, August 28. They did debridement, which means that he dead skin was cut off to allow for healing and healthy tissue to grow back. While much of the area above her elbow had enough healthy tissue to be stitched up, the area on her elbow unfortunately did not.

Caleigh left the animal hospital Thursday, August 30, and returned Friday, August 31, and today, Saturday, September 1, for bandage changes. For the next couple of weeks, Caleigh will be returning for bandage changes every 2 days, or sooner if we see that it is needed.

During this process, the open wound will slowly heal. New tissue will form. Our hope is that in a few weeks enough tissue will have grown to allow the surgeon to do another surgery to stitch the wound closed. If enough skin has not grown, a skin graft may be necessary.

At the end of the day, our baby girl, our blessing from God, will heal!! I️t is going to take time, she requires a lot of care and medicine, but she is alive, her leg is healing, and she is the most amazing dog I know. Her strength is giving me strength, and she is enriching the lives of the people around her.

With this said, we are vulnerably asking for help with the financial aspect of this situation. Caleigh’s medical bills have been racking up in the thousands, and while my mom and I are trying our best, the reality is that we need to put our pride aside and open up the option for individuals to donate if they would like to. I wouldn’t normally ask for financial assistance, but this is a unique circumstance, and we have to do what it takes to help our little girl continue on her road to recovery.

I️t is an estimated 6-8 weeks recovery time, assuming she continues to progress each day. Please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for all of the love that you have shown her and our family thus far, and thank you for all of your prayers. God bless!!
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Patty Ann Ferguson 
Norwalk, CT

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