Firefighters and paramedics showed up to a house in Pennsylvania in response to a man's death, but they never expected to find a dog.
"Don't go near her. She's mean and doesn't like people," firefighters told paramedic Courtney Ivan. She spotted the Australian cattle dog on the back patio of the house, but she didn't think the dog seemed traumatized at all. In fact, the dog trotted right over to Ivan.
"She was very friendly," Ivan told The Dodo. "She let us pet her, touch her and hug her. She followed us around the whole time we were there."
The family of the deceased man had no idea he had a dog in his care. They were a little overwhelmed with what to do.
"I think just out of pure shock, they said, 'Well, we're just going to euthanize her today, then,'" Ivan said.
But Courtney Ivan knew there was no way she was sending this dog to die. Instead, she asked the family if it was alright for her to take the dog back to the EMS station. The family agreed.
Courtney named the dog Hope, and she now lives at the EMS station. The station is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there are always crew on staff. They already have a dog named Humphrey whom they rescued from a local shelter. Originally, they only meant to foster Hope. But the crew immediately fell in love with her.
"The first night, the crew was lying on the floor with her, trying to build trust," Ivan said. "I came back after my 24-hour shift at another station, and there were matching dog beds for her and Humphrey, and toys and treats. They were amazing with her."
Not too long after Hope came to the station, crew members noticed her front shoulder was dislocated. She had multiple fractures in her elbow as well as a torn ligament. Vets believe Hope had been abused by a previous owner. They were hopeful that she would react well to pain medication, but it became evident that she needed something more serious. Vets had to amputate Hope's leg.
"The way [the vets] explained it, her shoulder was 'free-floating' in there," Ivan said. "It ended up being a ball and chain. But taking her leg was a huge decision for us to make."
"When [Hope] had surgery, she was gone for two days," Ivan said. "In some respects, I think [Humphrey] liked the extra attention. But he kept going and checking her bed. When she came back to the station, he was just ecstatic to see her."
Hope now does all the same things a normal dog does and you would never know she just had a leg amputated. The rescue dog brings immense joy to the entire EMS crew.
"Hope is amazing," Ivan said. "I could go on about her all day long, everyday. She's awesome."