Silent Victims – 5 Tips for Recovering from an Accident Involving a Pet

chow puppyThe rush of tawny brown fur dashed out before I had time to react and unfortunately I hit the brakes way too late. The sounds of anguished screaming from the canine that lie beneath my vehicle drowned the sound of my screeching tires. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach as my eyes settled on the grief-stricken faces of the children in a nearby front yard.

Recovering from Emotional Trauma

Has this ever happened to you? One minute you’re driving along, perhaps singing with the radio, and the next minute you’ve just run over some family’s pet. When it happened to me, I felt miserable. Aside from needing a good hosing off, my vehicle was unharmed. My physical self was just fine, but my emotional well-being was a whole other story. Several sessions with a grief counselor helped me get past the accident, but there have been lasting effects. Every time I travel through a suburban neighborhood, I drive under the speed limit and constantly watch for unleashed pets and other stray animals. I don’t even want to hit the pesky squirrel who plays tag with the wheels on cars that drive past them!

Caring for Injured Pets

Fortunately the dog’s injuries, aside from a broken leg, were primarily superficial. It turns out that caring for a pet’s injuries weren’t that different from following instructions a medical doctor gives to humans injured in car accidents. Here are some that the family that owned the dog had to follow to get their own furry family member back up on four legs.

  • Bandages – Keeping bandages clean and dry is the first defense against infection. You can wrap the bandage in plastic to avoid getting it wet or dirty. Because wounds need to breathe, however, avoid wrapping them in plastic for too long.
  • Stitches – If the wound requires stitches, then keep them dry as much as possible. Check with your veterinarian (or doctor, in case of humans with stitches) about specific instructions for keeping these wounds clean.
  • Extremities – Are the fingers and toes on your pet swollen, tender, or cold to the touch? Does your human complain that they can no longer feel their fingers and toes? It could be that the bandage is too tight and cutting off circulation.
  • Time – All recovery takes time. It’s like author Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Fractures well cured make us stronger.” Taking time to heal now just means the injured pet (or person, whichever the case might be) will bounce back stronger for it later on down the road.
  • Exercise – Movement is important for recovery. Lazing around on the couch day in and day out make for stiff muscles and joints. Nobody will expect the victim, whether furry or human, to jog laps around the block, but in all likelihood walking out onto the front porch and getting some much needed sunshine probably won’t hurt. (Just remember to leash the pet!)

Seeking Legal Counsel

Depending on the laws where the accident occurs, knowing how to proceed can be tricky business. When listing all the reasons why people hire attorneys, personal injury is one of the most popular regarding car accidents. Even if the victims, human or fur-bearing, don’t seem injured at the scene, symptoms could appear days later and when that happens, it’s important to have someone on your side just in case. Even if you were not injured as a result of a crash, you might need to hire one to protect your interests! If you aren’t sure you need an attorney, then that is the perfect reason to take advantage of a free consultation. Regardless of why you plan to seek legal counsel, make sure that the person you select is willing to listen to you and give you their full attention.

Insuring the Family Pet

Some insurance companies are now offering pet insurance for dogs and cats that sustain some kind of an injury during a car accident. For example, Progressive Insurance offers up to $1,000 worth of coverage for pets and the bonus is free to customers in 48 states who have Collision coverage (www.progressive.com). While pet insurance covers bills associated with pets that get sick, monies from pet injury coverage goes towards veterinary and emergency pet hospital bills. It not only includes pets that the customer owns, but it also extends to those pets that are owned by some relative who shares the customer’s same address.

About the Author

Freelance writer Rick Mercado may spend most of his time in White Rock, British Columbia where he lives with his wife, but his job takes him around the world through the magic of the internet. For instance, he recently spent a morning reading articles about car accidents at www.bgs.com based in the United States, and spent the same afternoon learning about birds of Australia. An avid outdoorsman, Rick enjoys hiking, kayaking, and beachcombing.

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