On Tuesday December 15, 2015 the TTC shut down the subway from Eglinton Ave. to Bloor St. in the early afternoon, as a dog was in the tunnel south of Davisville Ave. and was trapped under the third (power) rail.
As our hospital is a minute walk from the subway station, a representative of the transit commission came in asking for help. The local government animal agency had been contacted, but were non-committal as to actual time they could help out. A major section of the subway transit system in this major city was stopped, thousands were inconvenienced and this dog was trapped and injured. Vanessa, Dustin and Danielle and myself volunteered to do what we could.
Safety for us all was a major concern of the TTC employees, we donned reflective vests and with the power off, walked along the tracks south of the station into the tunnel approaching St. Clair Avenue.
We joined a number of Metro Police Officers, TTC Police and Supervisors to assess the situation. Katie, a 4 year old German Shepherd was quietly lying under the power rail with obvious extensive injuries.
Upon confirming the power was off and the area safe by the TTC electricians we were able to carefully slide Katie out from under the rail and onto a stretcher, covering her in blankets for her comfort and to cover her injuries from the lenses of the waiting media, we carried her from the tunnel to a waiting police car and she was brought to the animal hospital.
Katie’s owner, Lisa, was waiting anxiously. She met with me outside the subway station as the police car was maneuvering through the grid locked traffic. As she and I walked the short distance to the hospital she told me Katie had somehow escaped from her yard early in the morning and Lisa had been searching frantically for her. Katie’s injuries were horrific and I indicated to Lisa nothing was going to save her. We euthanized Katie at the hospital with Lisa lovingly patting and talking to Katie as we ended her suffering.
I am so proud of all of us at Usher Animal Hospital. Clients were most understanding and considerate to the inconvenience we caused by leaving the hospital to help in this emergency, all the team pitched in to comfort Katie and Lisa and make this tragedy bearable and swiftly end pain and suffering. We are a caring compassionate profession.
Personally I have seen a lot in my thirty eight years of practice and Katie’s injuries not the worst but this whole incident has profoundly affected me to my core. I think seeing how the TTC, the people of the city, the media and my staff all were sensitive to this one dog restores my sense of humanity and affirms why I chose to become a veterinarian.
Dr. Greg Usher