SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – It was a normal day of skiing in South Lake Tahoe on Friday, December 7, 2018 for a couple from Oakland, California. They had parked their car on the top floor of the five-story parking garage at Heavenly Village, left their two dogs Titan and Comet inside and hit the slopes for three hours.
Upon return to their car they let the dogs out and played with them for a while, then stopped to remove their ski gear. Other people in the garage were playing with the dogs as well when, for unknown reasons, Comet jumped off the garage and fell five stories below. The couple grabbed Titan and ran to the edge of the garage and looked down to see Comet. Titan jumped out of their hands and also jumped.
South Lake Tahoe Police Officer John Spaeth was in the area responding to another call when he was flagged down by someone concerning the dogs. SLTPD Sgt. Jason Cheney also responded. When the officers arrived one of the owners of the two dogs was running out of the garage to get to her dogs.
“We found two dogs in obviously very bad shape,” said Sgt. Cheney.
Sgt. Cheney put the dogs in his patrol unit while dispatch started calling vets, trying to see if anyone could help. Just then, Sgt. Travis Cabral was passing by Sierra Veterinary Hospital as they were about to close for the day. He told the staff what happened and they jumped into action. Dr. David Monroe had just left for the day and returned immediately to tend to the two dogs.
By the time the dogs arrived by police car to the clinic their conditions had worsened. Titan eventually succumbed to his injuries. The veterinary staff then turned their attention to saving Comet. The poor pup had a collapsed lung, a broken femur, a fractured vertebrae and a bruised heart. Dr. Monroe told the visiting couple their options, one putting Comet down, or spending what could be $5000 to $10,000 on the emergency care. The clinic had done all they could but Comet needed more specialized care in Reno.
“I knew they were going to have to travel through Friday night traffic. So, I called Lt. Laney and asked him if we could expedite Comet’s travel to the emergency vet in Reno,” Cheney said, “He said, “Yes!””
Two-year-old Comet’s owners had to help him breathe the whole way to Reno, but they got him to the emergency vet where the pup is improving. Comet isn’t out of the woods yet, but he’s now breathing on his own and waiting to heal a little more so he can have surgery.
“Its most definitely not something in our normal wheel house but it goes to show the nature of the human beings who serve in this profession and the hearts we have just like the citizens were serve and protect,” said Cheney.
“This is obviously going to be a HUGE financial impact to the dog’s owners who are both college students,: said Sgt. Cheney. “They have continuously expressed their eternal gratefulness for what our SLTPD family has done for them.”
A “Warm Hearts” donation container was immediately set up in the SLTPD Watch Commander’s office. The department’s K9 association started it off with a $250 donation.
If anyone would like to contribute to Comet’s care, checks are being accepted at Sierra Veterinary Specialists Emergency Center (on the memo line write ‘For Comet’).
Lt. Laney said contributions can also be dropped off at the police department. People can call directly and pay via a card – 775-358-8555 and ask to speak to Stephanie Elan and tell her you wish to donate towards Comet’s bill.
“Comet is a warrior and they have a cautiously optimistic outlook for his recovery, but stated it is a very long road ahead and a costly one,” added Sgt. Cheney.