Paramedics Answer Call for Help … and find Hope!

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The first night Hope came  to the station, crew members immediately bonded with her. Photo: Elite EMS
The first night Hope came to the station, crew members immediately bonded with her. Photo: Elite EMS

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“Don’t go near her. She’s mean and doesn’t like people.” Per the Dodo, that’s what firefighters told Courtney Ivan when she spotted an Australian cattle dog on the back patio of a house.

Ivan, a paramedic, showed up to a Pennsylvania home following after getting a call about a man’s death. The firefighters, who had reached the scene first, told Ivan the dog had belonged to the deceased man. She wasn’t sure how long it had been without care, but it seemed in good shape, and hardly “mean!” In fact, she greeted the paramedics warmly.

“She was very friendly,” Ivan told The Dodo. “She let us pet her, touch her and hug her. She followed us around the whole time we were there.”

The family of the deceased man hadn’t known he had a dog, and didn’t know what to do with her. “I think just out of pure shock, they said, ‘Well, we’re just going to euthanize her today,'” Ivan said.

Ivan, who also volunteers for the Humane Society of Mercer County, was adamant that wouldn’t happen. “I said, ‘There’s no way they’re going to put this dog down.'”
She asked the family if she could take the dog (later named Hope) back to the EMS station, and they agreed.

Elite EMS‘s station is open 24/7 and there are roughly 30 crew members, Ivan explained. What’s more, they already have a dog! Humphrey, a rescue from a local shelter, already keeps the crew company. And because of him, another dog wasn’t in the plans, but once her co-workers met Hope, Ivan knew she’d stay with them for good.

Hope and Humphrey, the station dog, took to one another immediately. Photo: Elite EMS
Hope and Humphrey, the station dog, took to one another immediately. Photo: Elite EMS

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“The first night, the crew was lying on the floor with her, trying to build trust,” Ivan said. “I came back after my 24-hour shift at another station, and there were matching dog beds for her and Humphrey, and toys and treats. They were amazing with her.”

Hope and Humphrey also got along, taking to each other immediately.

Not long after Hope came to live at the station, however, her new family noticed her front shoulder was dislocated. At the vet, they learned that Hope had multiple elbow fractures which prevented her from straightening her leg properly. She’d also torn a ligament in her shoulder.

Staffers treated her injuries with meds for awhile, but the leg continued to worsen and eventually, amputation was necessary.

“The way [the vets] explained it, her shoulder was ‘free-floating’ in there,” Ivan said. “It ended up being a ball and chain. But taking her leg was a huge decision for us to make.”

Hope, post-op. She is now a happy thriving "tripod." Photo: Elite EMS
Hope, post-op. She is now a happy thriving “tripod.” Photo: Elite EMS

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The surgery was successful and Hope quickly recovered. Per Ivan, it’s almost as though she’d never had four legs to begin with! “She still lies on the table in the garage all the time, or on chairs in the garage, where the ambulances are,” Ivan said. “When they say that dogs are born with three legs and a spare — absolutely.”

These days,Hope and Humphrey love playing together, and even evict crew members from their own on-site bedroom. “The dogs totally kick the crew out … it’s like the dog room. They rule the station.”

Hope might have taken over the crew’s bedroom, but she adores people. If people are around, Hope is with them. “She lies right on top of you sometimes,” Ivan said. “She is next to somebody all the time.”

“Hope is amazing,” Ivan said. “I could go on about her all day long, everyday. She’s awesome.”

Hope is a smiling, happy hound! Photo: Elite EMS
Hope is a smiling, happy hound! Photo: Elite EMS

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