ANDERSON, Ind. – Workers in the emergency room are used to seeing people walk through the door in need of urgent care.
But they didn’t expect what happened Thursday morning, when a dog walked into the ER at Community Hospital Anderson with a leg injury.
According to Dr. Clay Ludlow and Dr. Thomas Short, the dog came to the emergency room around 5:15 a.m.
“He literally walked straight up like he knew he was coming to the right place,” Short told FOX59.
“We checked him out initially in our emergency department and when our shift ended, (we) took him to the emergency vet,” Ludlow said.
The staff at the hospital comforted the dog and gave him water and a place to lie down before he went to the vet. They also wanted to find the dog’s owner.
“I said, ‘We need to get this up on our Facebook page,'” Short recalled, adding that it was ironic statement for him to make because he himself doesn’t use social media at all. Still, he thought it would be the best way to spread the word.
Community Hospital Anderson posted a photo of the staff with the dog. Several residents and animal advocacy groups shared the post in hopes of finding the dog’s owner.
It worked, with the post eventually find its way to the dog’s owner, Nick Karagianis.
According to Karagianis, he was walking the dog, Capone, between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. when he got home from work. Karagianis said Capone had been cooped up all day because he was working two jobs. During the walk, Capone’s leash got wrapped around a telephone pole; when Karagianis tried to untangle him, his collar came off and Capone ran off.
“Usually he comes right back,” Karagianis said. “I yell for him, ‘Capone! Capone!’ and he’s running around.”
But 1-year-old Capone didn’t come back. Karagianis got into his car and looked for him until about 3 a.m., but because it was dark and Capone has dark fur, he couldn’t find him. Fatigued from a day at work, he went back home and fell asleep.
When he woke up in the morning, he asked a woman passing by if she’d seen his dog, specifically a black lab. She said she hadn’t but showed him the post from Community Hospital. And there was Capone, right on the Facebook page, surrounded by the ER staff.
He wrote to the hospital on Facebook:
Thank you sooooo much to the community hospital team for taking care of my baby boy!!! I’m just waiting to pick him up. I was worried sick about him thank you again!!!
“It was a dog checking himself into the hospital,” Karagianis said with a laugh. “It blows the mind.”
The veterinarian said it appeared Capone had been hit by a car; his front left paw was hurt and he had a laceration above his eye and a shoulder injury. All of his injuries were on his left side. The most prominent problem was a brachial plexus (a group of nerves in the neck) injury, which the vet said should heal with time and TLC.
Short said Capone was a little scared at first but quickly warmed up.
“He was a super friendly dog and he was excited to see people,” Short said.
Short, a dog lover who said he once had a dog that came with him to work, contemplated fostering Capone until the owner stepped forward.
Ludlow described the dog as “quiet, gentle and friendly.”
“He came up to us and wanted to be petted. A toddler even walked up to him and gave him a big pet and he just licked her,” Ludlow said. “It was clear he was a wonderful dog, if the owner hadn’t come forward we would have found someone to take him in no time!”
Capone is relaxing now and recovering from his injuries. Karagianis said Capone will take pain medication and an antibiotic as he gets back on his feet.
And he’s thankful for the kindness of the hospital staff, who even paid Capone’s vet bill, with Short’s stipulation that Capone get neutered and microchipped.