Jessie the 6-month-old border collie is recovering nicely from surgery to remove a leg that was badly damaged when she was hit by a light-rail train.
The dog has been under the care of Brian Van Vechten, a veterinary surgeon at the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado, a specialty and emergency veterinary hospital at 3550 S. Jason St. in Englewood.
“I saw Jessie earlier today and she is doing fine,” the veterinarian said May 30. “We want to keep her activity down right now so the incision heals completely. But she is already walking and moving well. Pretty soon, she’ll be fully recovered so she can chase and catch a ball.”
The week of May 13, Jessie’s owner was out of town. The dog ran away near Dartmouth and Broadway when a dog sitter let her off her leash because the leash was tangled in some vines.
The dog’s owner, Henry, who declined to give his last name, said in an interview he had only owned Jessie for two months but already loved her. Jessie was being cared for by a friend when she ran off. The owner tried to find her, and she was found by an animal control officer near Broadway and Mississippi Avenue on May 17, the day after she had been hit by the light rail train. .
In a television interview, the owner said even when the animal control officer explained that treatment would be expensive, he just couldn’t put Jessie down.
“I saw her the day after she was found,” Van Vechten said. “The train severed her left hind leg near the knee. It is believed the pressure and the heat from the train wheels probably cauterized the wound so she didn’t bleed to death. However, when we saw her, the wound was infected, so we amputated the leg at the hip because of the danger of further spread of infection.”
The doctor said once the amputation is fully healed, the loss of a hind leg won’t slow the dog down because dogs carry about 65 percent of their weight on their front legs.
“We do amputations where are there are extreme fractures or because of cancer,” he said. “However, amputations in cases of extreme trauma like this are relatively rare.”
The owner has established a Facebook page and is asking for help in covering the $6,000 cost of the surgery at https://www.facebook.com/HelpJessieAndHerFamily.