The handler of popular fire dog has spoken of the moment the canine broke his leg in a terrifying accident while chasing a ball.
Black cocker spaniel Scrappy fractured his front leg near the elbow joint when he got his paw stuck in a hole on Tuesday.
The County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service biocarbon detection dog, screamed out in pain and was rushed to the vets.
He was later operated on in a four-hour procedure, with screws put in place, along with a metal plate to stabilise his elbow joint.
Scrappy, who is based at the fire headquarters in Belmont, Durham, will be out of action for a while, but is predicted to make a full recovery and be back investigating fires by Christmas.
Fire investigation manager Lee Aspery, who lives with five-and-a-half-year-old Scrappy in North Yorkshire, said: “We were at Teesside University doing a presentation to the forensic investigations students.
“It’s quite a normal thing for us to do.
“When we had finished the demo, Scrappy was having a bit of a laugh with some of the students tossing a ball for him on the grass.
“He ran off and suddenly his front left leg went into a hole. He fell flat on the ground.
“He screamed his head off and I really felt for him, but I felt for the students as well.
“They were having a bit of a play after his demo, it wasn’t dangerous or anything, just on grass. He was still wearing his protective gear, his harness and safety boots
“It was a group of 30 students and they were visibly shaken by the whole experience.
“I have been getting lots of messages and they are doing a whip-round for a present for Scrappy.”
Lee, 49, rushed Scrappy to his regular vet Kevin Walton at Vets4Pets in Durham.
There, he was checked over and x-rayed, before being transferred to emergency veterinary hospital Wear Referrals in Bradbury.
The following day, surgeons performed a four-hour operation, putting a large screw through Scrappy’s elbow joint, to hold the two parts together.
They also added a metal plate above the joint, extending upwards into the bone, to stabilise the fracture.
The canine patient was expected to be released home on Friday, once he’s been weaned off his strong pain medication.
Lee said: “He is doing really well, fantastic. They are keeping him in an extra day, because he is on quite strong painkillers.
“He has already been up trying to walk on his broken leg, which is typical of him.”
Lee has been told that the repair was a success, but Scrappy faces four weeks’ of bed rest – something Lee says is not going to be easy for an active spaniel.
He will then start hydrotherapy to build his strength back up.
“Scrappy will be back doing his normal searches in a couple of months’ time.”
You can follow the progress of Scrappy’s recovery on his facebook page: www.facebook.com/Firedog.Scrappy/