Dog survives terrifying ordeal on Halifax bridge
- Published on February 2, 2012
Former Valley resident the ‘lucky animal lover who was there at the right time and place’
TRURO – Angela Smith was heading across the bridge into Dartmouth Monday morning when she noticed a sudden disruption in the traffic flow.
“I assumed people were slowing down because of the heavy traffic and there was a couple of transport trucks going uphill,” the former Valley resident said.
She then noticed that several vehicles appeared to be driving over something and, to her horror, realized it was a dog.
“When I stopped, I was stopping to move a dead dog off to the side, so I thought,” Smith said. “I could clearly see from my car she was still breathing. I jumped out of my car, looked around and hoped people wouldn’t start honking at me because I was stopping rush hour traffic.”
Other drivers didn’t honk but neither did they offer assistance.
“No one really helped. I went to her and she didn’t move. I grabbed a blanket out of my trunk, got her on it and into the back seat of my car. The race was on …”
Smith eventually got the injured dog transported to the Dartmouth Vet Clinic where it was treated for a badly fractured jaw, head trauma, an injured paw and tail and various scrapes.
Despite not knowing who the dog belonged to and even after being told that vet bills could reach as high as $2,500, Smith remained committed to dealing with the situation, all the while worrying about its fate.
“My day was filled with the ‘what ifs?'” she said. “What if I was five minutes earlier or five minutes later? I haunted myself with thoughts of seeing worse happen to her … that the cars that were driving over her continued to damage her more, or worse, finish the job. I was driving myself nuts with these silly thoughts.”
Needing something positive to focus on, Smith turned to the social networking power of Facebook and decided to start a fundraiser for the injured dog.
It was also through Facebook that she discovered it was a Jack Russell/Australian cattle dog mix named Sasha, that had been missing for several days.
Last November, Sasha was placed with Leah Banks of Cole Harbour as a foster dog through the volunteer agency Animal Rescue Coalition (ARC) of Halifax, after being picked up as a runaway stray in Colchester County.
“Within a day, she was attached to me and my younger dog Ash,” Banks said. “What a little Miss Busy Bee … she loved doing circles in our living room or playing tug-of-war and stealing Ash’s toys and playing with my cat Dewey.”
Sasha also enjoyed many outings with Leah and her family but as much as the dog had taken to her foster home, it was intended as just that.
Last week, Sasha was adopted by a person in Halifax. But it soon became apparent that was not where she wanted to be, and within 24 hours of seeing her off, Banks received a dreaded call that her little friend had run away from her new home.
That prompted a frantic search over the next several days by Banks and her family, who suspected Sasha was attempting to make her way to Leah’s father’s house in Dartmouth, from where she had been walked in previous months. Despite numerous sightings, however, Sasha remained on the loose until Monday morning when she got caught up in rush-hour traffic on the Murray MacKay Bridge.
Sasha has now been reunited with Banks and has a permanent place in her home.
And between Smith’s fundraising efforts and contributions from Banks, Sasha’s vet’s bills of about $1,600 are being taken care of.
But Smith is encouraging anyone who may be affected by the story to donate to ARC to assist with the needs of other animals that require care.
Looking back on things, she has mixed feelings about the situation.
“It’s hard to be angry when you don’t have a specific person to be angry towards,” she said of the motorists who repeatedly ran over the little dog.
“I’m angry inside, but really, it’s more nauseating then anything … It’s why I think this story is so important – people just shouldn’t assume an animal is dead. She clearly wasn’t and is clearly alive to this day. I hate thinking about this part of it all the most because it takes me back to the what ifs?
“Maybe I was meant to be there – maybe someone up above said: ‘OK Sasha – time to stop running. It’ll hurt but I’ll help you find your way home.’ And then I was just a part of that plan. I’m not the angel, I’m just the lucky animal lover who was there at the right time and place.”