Surgical Tech Fosters Emergency Patient’s Dog For Entire Hospital Stay

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Mr. Midnight and his owner, Jose Carbajal. Photo: Jose Carbajal



Jose Carbajal travels all across the country in his job as a truck driver, and by his side through it all, is his bestie: the truly adorable Mr. Midnight.

Mr. Midnight is a beefy little pup at eight months old, and he’s been with Carbajal and his family for six of them. He adores keeping his Dad company on the long-haul drives.

“He has a great personality,” Carbajal told The Dodo. “He is an amazing dog and a great friend. He loves to ride in the truck and look out the window at all the scenery. We have been all across the country and he loves it.”



Mr. Midnight is a cheery guy. He loves keeping Carbajal company on long-haul drives. Photo: Jose Carbajal



But recently on a trip, Carbajal started to experience severe stomach pain. He was concerned about seeking medical attention because he worried about Mr. Midnight. The dog, not surprisingly, could tell something was up with his best friend.

“For those 15 hours that I was in pain Mr. Midnight knew that something was wrong,” Carbajal said. “He would not eat or drink or be his joyful self. I would catch him staring at me with sad eyes.”

When Carbajal finally went to the hospital, he found that he needed emergency appendix surgery. He was panicked, but it wasn’t the procedure that worried him most.

“When I was told by the doctor that I was going to have emergency surgery I didn’t want to do it because I had no idea what was going to happen to Mr. Midnight,” Carbajal said. “He was inside my 18-wheeler waiting for me to come back. I was more worried about Mr. Midnight than I was about myself.”



Surgical tech Deanna Mahaley and her family are experienced with rescue animals. They happily stepped in to care for Mr. Midnight while his dad got better. Photo: Deanna Mahaley



Carbajal told the medical staff about his situation. The dog was back in the truck. Who would take care of him? But a group of caring nurses stepped in, determined to find Mr. Midnight a place to stay while his dad got the care he needed.

Deanna Mahaley, a certified surgical tech at Piedmont Henry Hospital, heard about Carbajal’s plight from the ER staff. She and her family already had six rescue animals — three dogs and three cats — and were more than willing to open up their home to another in need.

“After Jose’s surgery and before my next one, I contacted the ER nurse who put me in touch with the ultrasound tech, Wendy Johnson, who had the information,” Mahaley said. “I quickly texted my husband her info as I was scrubbing in for my next case and my husband went and got Mr. Midnight, with the help of Wendy. When I got off work, I went upstairs to Jose’s room and introduced myself, and let him know who it was exactly watching his dog.”

Mr. Midnight stayed with Mahaley and her family for a whole week while Carbajal recovered. He fit in great with their other dogs, and became just like another member of the family during his stay. If she and her family hadn’t stepped up, there’s no telling what would have happened to Mr. Midnight. Instead, he was able to make a ton of new friends, while he waited for his dad to be well enough to take care of him again.



Mr. Midnight fell into the pack like a regular member of the family. Photo: Deanna Mahaley



“When I heard Jose had a puppy in his truck, my mind couldn’t get over the fact that the poor thing was probably scared to death that his owner was absent for so long,” Mahaley said. “It was killing me. I honestly didn’t even think about how he’d do in the presence of my animals or kids, it just all happened as if it was meant to be.”

Now Carbajal has recovered and he and his dog have been reunited. They couldn’t be happier, and Carbajal’s whole family is grateful for everyone who stepped in to help. They’ve stayed in touch with each nurse and tech; new friendships have been forged.

“They will always have a special place in my heart, and Mr. Midnight will never forget them and all the love they gave him,” Carbajal said.