One Poodle’s Amazing Fight For Life

Almost a year has passed since John Gould, a litigation consultant, got the late-night telephone call he hoped would never come.

Earlier that evening his family’s three-year-old miniature poodle, Ginger, had scooted out the door when the house cleaners came, ran into the street and was hit by a car. He had rushed the dog into Boston, to Angell Memorial Animal Hospital, where veterinarian Ann Marie Manning, a specialist in emergency and critical-care medicine, hurried Ginger into the Intensive Care Unit.

Ginger’s Injuries Were Severe

There, the severity of Ginger’s injuries became clear. “We gave her fluids and a couple other things and she responded really well,” remembers Manning. “But she bled a lot into her belly and she started having a lot of difficulty breathing.” Ginger was stabilized and Manning told Gould to go home. If he didn’t hear from anyone that night, she said, it was probably good news.

Radiographs, however, revealed air in the chest cavity (pneumothorax), from a ruptured lung. Within an hour or two, Ginger was in crisis. Too much air was gathering in her chest. With the dog near death, Manning inserted a needlelike instrument called a trocar into Ginger’s chest, simultaneously inserting a tube about the width of a pencil. With the chest tube in, air could be drawn off continuously, averting tragedy.

But Ginger’s problems were far from over: A bandage had been wrapped around her midsection to help stave off the hemorrhaging to her belly. Yet she was also bleeding to her lungs and, for that, the doctor could do nothing except hope it would stop on its own.

“After I got the chest tube in and I got her in the oxygen cage,” Manning recalls, “I called the owners and told them there was a good chance she was going to die during the night.” Around 11:30, Gould, wife Janice and Allison, their two-year-old, arrived at the hospital to say goodbye to their beloved family member.

The Amazing Ginger Sat Up

Ginger had other plans, though. She rallied overnight and survived another pneumothorax scare the next day while being X-rayed. She was also given a blood transfusion. Before long, and to grins all around, the amazing Ginger sat up and had a bite to eat. A few days passed and she was free and clear of danger.