On October 20, 2008, on a morning after errands, a ride to the dog park turned into a nightmare for Lizzie Mead and her two rescued greyhounds, Rider and Opal.
At the Midtown intersection of Speedway and Alvernon Way, a SUV traveling 60 to 70 miles per hour, crashed into the camper shell of Lizzie’s truck. The driver of the SUV drove into the gas station at the SE corner and took off running on foot.
Meanwhile people rushed to Lizzie’s vehicle and called 911. A dazed and bloodied Lizzie hobbled out of the vehicle to the back of her truck to see how the greyhounds were. What she saw made her scream just as the ambulance pulled up.
On impact the camper shell popped open and the dogs jumped over the metal debris and destruction and ran away. She begged the gathering crowd to go search for her dogs as she was taken away in an ambulance. An angel named Lindsey promised Lizzie that she wouldn’t leave until she knew the dogs were at the vet.
Rider ran to Metro Auto Center on the northeast corner of Speedway and Alvernon. The employees put him in an enclosure while they tried to figure out what to do with him. Rider was in very bad shape. The owner of a recycling venue next to the Auto Center saw Rider and immediately drove him to Pima Pet Clinic where he was checked in at 11 a.m. less than 30 minutes after the accident. That was miracle #1.
Opal ran further and her paws were badly damaged. Connie R. found Opal near Country Club and 5th Street, a good distance from the accident. Opal was still wearing her Arizona Greyhound Rescue tag. Connie called AGR who requested that she take the hound to Pima Pet Clinic. Opal checked in at 11:30 a.m. That was miracle #2.
Pima Pet Clinic tried to call Lizzie but she was in the ambulance. At the hospital where Lizzie was treated for leg lacerations and had an x-ray, she checked her phone messages to learn that her dogs were at Pima Pet Clinic. Leaving the hospital she went to the Clinic to sign off on their care.
Rider was bleeding internally and was given two bags of blood. Rider had a 40 percent chance of surviving the surgery. A team of three veterinarian surgeons lead by Dr. Knight worked to save him. His spleen was removed and he suffered numerous lacerations and stitches. If he did survive, he had a chance to be a normal 5-year-old dog again. That was important to Lizzie because she wanted Rider to have the quality of life worthy of a 5-year-old retired racing greyhound.
4-year-old Opal’s eye popped out but the veterinarian team felt they could save her eye. Opal went home to recover with her eye intact on October 23. Her paws are healing. That was miracle #3.
Rider went home after six days in doggy ICU. That was miracle #4.
Lizzie has headaches and messed up her elbow, neck, knee, and ankle. She has stitches on her ankle. Her elbow may have a pinched nerve or a bone chip. Her knee makes a popping sound and she will most likely have physical therapy. Her injuries should be covered by insurance. She was lucky; that was miracle #5.
So far the veterinarian bill has been $13,962.01 but there have been follow up visits not yet added to this amount.
Money. Money. Money. Money.
But the opportunity to have her greyhounds — who are her fur kids, back home again and recuperating is…priceless.
The accident was a tragedy. It could happen to anybody. The fact that no two-legged or four-legged creatures were permanently injured is — a miracle.
Can you help turn this tragedy into triumph?
Animal lovers and people who treat their companion animals like family members will understand why she opted to save the lives of her retired racing greyhounds who have survived the obstacles of their racing lives and were just beginning to enjoy being couch potatoes.
How can you help?
Please consider making a donation using PayPal. No donation is too small; all will be gratefully received. Donations are not tax-deductible. (Donations will say Elizabeth Mead.)
Or go into any Compass Bank and make a write a check to “ELIZABETH MEAD/THE MEAD ACCIDENT DONATION FUND” (It must say Elizabeth Mead.)
If you are not near a Compass Bank, send a check to Compass Bank, 7880 E. Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85710 – designating (ELIZABETH MEAD/“The Mead Accident Donation Fund”.
Lizzie owns Silver Sea Jewelry & Gifts at 330 N. 4th Avenue and is part of the 4th Avenue Merchants Association. She recently moved her store to that location from downtown. She is a very small business owner with insurmountable veterinarian bills.
Friends of Lizzie Mead – Angy, Cynthia, Glenda, Karyn, and Michelle