Emergency vets say Taffy lucky to survive evening road accident

A rescue dog almost died after loud bangs from fireworks caused him to run in front of a car.

Welsh terrier Taffy was so petrified of the noise from overhead he darted away from his owners on to a busy road.

Robert Lomas rushed stricken Taffy to his local Vets Now and, thankfully, the expert care he received meant he survived the ordeal.

But Robert, who says fireworks make his family’s life “a nightmare”, is now calling for tighter controls on their sale.

Image of Taffy the Welsh terrier for Vets Now article on dog fireworks injury
Taffy ran on to the road after being spooked by a firework and within seconds he was under a car (© Vets Now)

Graphic designer Robert and wife Susan got Taffy, who they think is about 12, from Dogs Trust five years ago.

The loveable dog has always been terrified of fireworks and the horror accident happened a couple of days before bonfire night last year.

“I got a lift back from work and had just got out of the car with Taffy when a firework went off virtually right above us,” said Robert, 37.

“Taffy bolted in sheer terror before I could lock the lead. In a fraction of a second, he was on the road and under the car.

“I could just see him disappear beneath the bumper. I pulled hard and that may have saved him, as I think he almost bounced off the wheel rather than go fully under it.

“It really was horrible, so traumatic. I was really upset and shaken up. I tried to get him into the house, but he was urinating blood and I panicked.”

As it was evening, Robert took him to Vets Now’s 24/7 pet emergency hospital in Manchester.

Our emergency vets stabilised Taffy, gave him medication for his pain, and then carried out a thorough investigation into his injuries.

Although he hadn’t suffered any broken bones, his skin was inflamed and there was material floating in his bladder.

After discussions, it was decided to keep him under close observation, monitoring and clinical assessment overnight just in case he suffered haemorrhaging.

Laura Playforth, professional standards director at Vets Now, said: “Every year our emergency vets see pets who have been involved in road traffic accidents after being spooked by fireworks.

“Some, like Taffy, get so scared by the loud bangs they run off while others suffer stress and anxiety attacks.”

Image of Taffy the Welsh terrier for Vets Now article on dog fireworks injury
Emergency vets at Vets Now in Manchester stablised Taffy and treated his injuries, keeping him in over night (© Vets Now)

Although Robert and Susan were kept fully informed of Taffy’s progress, it was an agonising wait for the couple, who have a three-year-old son, Jack.

“Vets Now were absolutely brilliant, so calm and reassuring, but I was worried he might not come through it,” said Robert. “And even if he did, as he’s an old dog, would he ever be the same again?”

Taffy was, happily, well enough to be allowed home the next day and he eventually made a full recovery. One year on, it’s once again the time of the year the family hates.

“We always dread bonfire night because Taffy is so scared,” said Robert. “One of us will sit with him on our lap and hug him but he shakes and absolutely hates it. There are terraced houses where we live and the echoing of the bangs make him so distressed.

“The past few years have been an absolute nightmare. The fireworks often go on way into the early hours of the morning and we’ve all had so many sleepless nights with Taffy up barking. It starts weeks before November 5th and goes on well afterwards.”

Image of Taffy the Welsh terrier for Vets Now article on dog fireworks injury (© Vets Now)
Thankfully, Taffy was allowed home the next day and has gone on to make a full recovery

“I’d definitely support moves to restrict sales, license displays and reduce the decibel level,” said Robert. “I’m sure they have got much noisier over the years, which is why I think quieter fireworks are such a great idea.

“There must be so many pet owners like myself who hate this time of the year. And many older and vulnerable people are affected, too. It really is time there was a change.”

The Vets Now pet emergency hospital in Manchester – where Taffy received treatment – is regarded as one of the finest facilities of its kind in the UK. It’s one of three Vets Now hospitals across the UK that are open 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on-site at all times.