The Case of Sally

Sally is a very special staffie. Her owner Rob rescued her as a puppy and they became inseparable.  When Rob suffered several strokes, it was Sally who was by his side and a strong motivation and companion throughout his recovery period.  Sally became a regular at our outreach station in Hackney, London, collecting food and having regular check-ups for minor skin complaints and flea and worm treatments.  She became known for her voracious appetite and her gentle, affectionate if rather goofy nature.

One cold November evening in 2018, Sally was unexpectedly spooked by some nearby fireworks.  She fled from her familiar surroundings straight onto the railway tracks and into the path of an oncoming train.  Sally sustained life-threatening injuries but incredibly she was still alive and an RSPCA inspector transported her to the Harmsworth Veterinary Hospital.  There she was stabilised with fluids and pain relief. Against all odds she survived the night.  That morning the RSPCA contacted StreetVet and we arranged for our friends at Vet Assist (a pet and wildlife ambulance service) to transport Sally to Wanstead Veterinary Hospital, part of the Goddard Vet Group.

Sally’s injuries were extensive and life changing.  The trauma extended along the right side of her body which we believe took most of the impact from the train.  There were long discussions about whether we would be able to save her right leg, but in the end it was agreed that she would be at a lower risk of complications and would recover better after an amputation.  It can be extremely challenging to confine dogs for long recovery periods if they are not used to being crate-rested or away from their owner.  Sally also had severe head injuries and her right eye was removed and jaw wired back together.  Unbelievably, just two days after major surgery, Sally was up and walking about again. She had a minor setback when her jaw repair became infected but it wasn’t long before Sally was eating and much brighter.

As vets and vet nurses, we often have to counsel owners through the process of caring for pets that undergo major surgeries.  We also need to prepare owners for the psychological impact when they first see their pet after life-changing injuries.  Our Hackney volunteers were concerned that Rob would be shocked to see the extent of Sally’s injuries in person.  So, StreetVets Rebecca and Emma wanted to ensure Rob was fully prepared and supported, by driving him to the hospital themselves to visit Sally.  They were humbled to witness an overwhelmingly emotional reunion.

After just two weeks in hospital Sally was released.  Sally has become a bit of a local celebrity after all that she has been through and the tragic circumstances that have led to her new unique appearance.  Sally and Rob continue to visit us in Hackney almost every week and we ensure that she is happy, pain free and of course well fed!!


Written by Roz Wright