Nov. 22, 2016, started out as just another day for retired Navy Seal John Brophy. He and his dog, a retired service animal named Maggie, were visiting a friend in the Las Olas Isles neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
John and Maggie were regular visitors to the area, familiar sights to those living in the neighborhood. It was no surprise when John’s friend took Maggie for a walk.
But that sedate stroll soon ended with a shock. As Maggie rounded a bush and walked out into the road, a truck struck her.
Brophy came running. With the help of his friend, who happened to be an emergency-room nurse, he bundled Maggie into his vehicle and began to drive.
Unsure where to take his beloved pet, he frantically called a friend who urged him to go to Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists, a 24-hour emergency center. At the time, though, he wasn’t sure Maggie would make it.
“Her tongue was just kind of hanging out, her eyes were rolling back,” Brophy told The Sun-Sentinel. “I definitely thought I was losing her.”
Maggie made it, but the doctors at Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists made a terrible discovery during their examination. Not only was she in hypovolemic shock, she had sustained severe damage to her left hind leg.
The leg injured would prove particularly problematic for Maggie. In addition to multiple fractures, one section was so badly pulverized that the bones didn’t even show up on an x-ray.
The veterinarians did the only thing they could. After Maggie was stabilized, they amputated the limb.
Many dogs can function fairly well with only three legs, but Dr. Jennifer Bibevski of Lauderdale Veterinary Services expressed concern that Maggie could eventually develop hip trouble. That was when they took the impressive step of fitting Maggie with her own special prosthesis.
Other than a small limp, Maggie achieved full mobility with her new leg. However, at a cost of $20,000, it wasn’t what anyone would call cheap.
Family and friends chipped in to help Maggie and Brophy. Lauderdale Veterinary Services itself covered the balance of the bill through its The Pet’s Tree of Hope fund, a special provision for pet owners unable to fully pay for an animal’s treatment.
For Brophy, it seemed almost miraculous. “I couldn’t be more thankful for the help, love and support that I have received since the accident,” he told WSVN.
“That’s what we’re here for,” Dr. Bibevski said. “Anything that we can do to help the pets and their owners is what makes our day successful.”