HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Several big-hearted animal doctors across Central Virginia are giving a severely injured dog a second chance, after the pet and its entire family suffered a car accident.
The family, including their pet French bulldog Griffen, crashed their van in Petersburg off I-95, the day before Thanksgiving. Joshua Martin says his van hydroplaned and collided into multiple trees.
"I was terrified. I thought my kids were dead for a minute," said Joshua Martin of the petrifying moments.
He and his family live in Florida and were visiting family in Manassas, Virginia for the holiday.
Sarah Martin, Joshua's wife, suffered a fractured eye socket and broken shoulder and rib bones. The couple's 17-year-old son Jaden had a concussion and two broken vertebrae. Two-year-old Layla was left with a broken femur, several skull fractures and a concussion.
However, Griffen experienced the worst impact, as he was crated in the back of the van. Rescue workers cut Griffen's crate away from his body. The dog suffered a fractured spine, leaving him in excruciating pain and unable to use his hind legs.
Dr. Kim Eaton initially treated Griffen at Disputanta Animal Hospital. Dr. Eaton provided as much free care as she could for Griffen, helping with immediate treatment, inflammation and administering pain medicine.
Dr. Eaton also relayed Griffen and his family's story to Dr. Michael Higgenbotham, a veterinary neurosurgeon at Bush Veterinary Neurology Service animal hospital in Richmond.
"After hearing the story, we all got excited to get [Griffen] in and get him examined and hopefully helped," said Dr. Higgenbotham.
Tuesday, Dr. Higgenbotham and colleague Dr. Martin Young performed an intensive spinal surgery on Griffen. The doctors repaired and pinned Griffen's spine, donating their services as well.
Dogwood Veterinary Emergency and Specialty is caring for Griffen after his operation. All the animal hospitals are waving as many fees as possible. The family will only be responsible for a few thousand dollars of unavoidable at-cost expenses, like the expensive screws for Griffen's spine. The operation would usually cost at least $14,000.
Meantime, the family has been released from the hospital, one-by-one, after undergoing surgery. They are thankful to soon be reunited with their beloved pet.
"We're really happy that people are trying to help out," continued Joshua.
Dr. Eaton started a GoFundMe for the family, to help pay for the vet bills the animal doctors weren't able to absorb. That effort has already raised more than $5,000.
"My heart breaks for [Griffen] as he is very sweet, but yet so scared. The way he looks into my eyes is unexplainable. It just seems so unfair that this has happened to them all. I am trying to help raise the funds to provide him with the care and treatment that he needs," wrote Dr. Eaton in the fundraiser's post.
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