How could anyone run over a dog and then drive away without even stopping to help? That's exactly what happened when a driver hit a dog at 5th Avenue North and 29th Street in St. Pete last Friday morning.
And "Abbey" isn't just any dog. She's a guide dog for a man who has trouble seeing. Inconsolable is how you might describe Terry Ellrick, who is now left with no way to get around safely for the next week or more, while his eyes on the street, his guide dog Abbey, recovers from surgery.
"So she ran up on the curb, sidewalk and in the yard while Abbey was taking a pee pee and hit her!," exclaimed Ellrick in between tears. He is emotional and distraught over what happened to his pet.
"It was a hit and run," said Ellrick, who was left visually impaired after three strokes.
"I can't see too well," he admitted. "I'm blind in one eye and going blind in this one."
But he was horrified seeing enough to witness his beloved guide dog Abbey get struck and hurt by a hit-and-run driver.
"My life. She's my life, she's my day, every hour, every minute of my life," he said, through tears. "She's fun, my enjoyment, she's everything that anybody could ever want."
St. Petersburg Police are looking for the driver, possibly a female as Ellrick described, driving a black sedan similar to a Toyota Camry, which was last seen Friday near his home on 5th Avenue North and 29th Street.
The 59-year-old says Abbey is his eyes and ears wherever he goes.
"We eat together, breakfast, lunch and dinner," he said.
Doctors from Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Tampa are treating the 2 year old, mixed-breed female.
"She's dehydrated, she was in a degree of shock when she came in," said Dr. John Gicking, who believes the impact damaged her liver, spleen and gall bladder. Her abdomen was slowly filling up with her own bile and other fluids.
"All that bile's made by the liver, so there's a rupture, there's a hole somewhere," said Dr. Gicking.
Abbey's eyes grew heavy as the sedation began to kick in. Her swollen, achy belly is shaved and readied for surgery. She was out cold and ready for surgery in seconds. A monitor on her tongue told doctors her heart was beating just fine. Then, she was taken into the doggy O.R. to get repaired.
"Hopefully, she's feeling like a 2-year-old dog again, she's bouncing off the walls," said Dr. Gicking.
"I can't live without her," said Ellrick, who is just grief-stricken over Abbey. He hopes the driver will do the right thing and turn herself in.
Abbey's surgery went well. She's in the doggy ICU right now. Doctors said her condition is as good as could be expected after having major abdominal surgery. She'll be under some intense scrutiny over the next week or more until they can see how well she bounces back. If you think you know who the driver of that black car was last Friday, call St. Pete Police.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
Didn't find what you were looking for?