“I heard a big bang and a howl — and the hair on the back of my neck stood right up.”
Peter Rogaishio knew that howl very well: It was that of his 3-year-old Doberman, Thor.
Peter and Thor just returned to their Holliston, Massachusetts home after going to the local park. Thor had stayed outside in the yard while Rogaishio went inside to light a fire in the fireplace. Rogaishio ran out to check on Thor and saw that he had been struck by two cars in front of the house and was bleeding out in the street.
“I ran from the backyard to the street and there was blood everywhere,” Rogaishio said. ”I called 911 and the police showed up. They radioed animal control but they were held up somewhere else.”
Rogaishio waited for nearly 20 minutes until he knew what he had to do. He wrapped his best friend up in a tarp and placed him in the back of his truck.
“There was no way I was waiting any longer,” Rogaishio said. “He was dying.”
Rogaishio sped through the streets of heavy New England rush-hour traffic to get his dog to the nearest animal hospital.
That is when he passed a police cruiser.
The officer turned on his sirens and followed Rogaishio, who didn’t stop, considering his emergency. The high-speed pursuit continued for a mile and a half until police ahead set up a roadblock right in his path.
“I knew I wasn’t getting any further, and at this point, the cops had their guns drawn and were yelling to put the truck in park,” Rogaishio said. “I got out with my hands up, by that time I had Thor’s blood all over me, and just kept shouting, ‘My dog, my dog! He’s in the back and he got hit!’”
The officers looked in and saw Rogaishio and said: “didn’t even look alive.”
After the high-speed chase, police were compelled to arrest Rogaishio, he was handcuffed and taken to jail — while another officer jumped into the truck and rushed Thor to the veterinary hospital to get him the help he needed.
“Not knowing what was going on with Thor, it felt like an eternity,” Rogaishio said.
Rogaishio was released after an hour in jail, when a friend paid his $40 bail. The police decided not to press charges against Rogaishio, considering the circumstances, and only required that he take a safe-driving course.
Rogaishio and his wife, Unice, rushed to Thor’s side at the veterinary hospital, where he waited for around five hours as vets stabilized the dog. Thor survived the accident and was transported to a different animal hospital for an eight-hour surgery.
Both of Thor’s front legs had compound fractures, and one of his femurs had shattered. Surgeons added five metal plates throughout the injuries — and now, almost a week later, vets are able to get him to stand with the help of a specialized harness.
“I don’t know how he lived,” Rogaishio said. “To be able to see him stand again is just a miracle. My wife and I don’t have any kids, so Thor is like our child. He sleeps with us and goes everywhere with us.”
Thor’s veterinary bill was over $20,000, when a neighbor, one whom Rogaishio had only met on the day of the accident, had started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover the bills.
“She lives all the way on the other end of the street and has three dogs,” Rogaishio said. “Just as we had gotten Thor into the back of my truck that day, a woman stuck her head in the window and was crying her eyes out. I told her, ‘Please, just pray.’ It was her — and she showed up the next day at my house with a plant and some zucchini bread and told me she wanted to do to help us.”
In three days, the campaign raised over $11,000 and donations continue to come in from all over the country. Donors are flooding the site with photos of their pets, wishing Thor a speedy recovery and offering encouraging thoughts for his family.
Thor is out of the intensive care unit and recovering with pain medicine and antibiotics. Vets will continue monitoring him and changing his many bandages. They are also making sure he’s helped to his feet multiple times per day and is rolled over into different positions to maintain healthy blood flow while lying down.
Rogaishio hopes his best friend will be able to come home soon, and looks forward to helping him regain strength.
“Every time I step into his room at the vet, he starts flopping like a fish trying to get up because he’s so excited to see me,” Rogaishio said. “I just sit with him and calm him down until he eventually falls asleep, and then I slip out very quietly so I don’t rile him up again. Despite everything, he’s still in great spirits.”
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