Quick action by motorist, vet and humane society saves 7-week-old puppy that was hit by car.

HOLLY M. GILL - Jerilee Drynan, operations manager at Three Rivers Humane Society, holds 'Sage,' who is recovering from being struck by a car, which fractured her skull.It was Valentine's Day, and two approximately 7-week-old puppies were playing at the edge of U.S. Highway 26, just east of Warm Springs. A motorist headed toward Madras spotted them darting on and off the highway and was concerned enough to turnaround and go back, but it was already too late. One of the puppies had been struck by a vehicle, suffering a life-threatening injury.

Thanks to that motorist, Three Rivers Humane Society, and a local veterinarian, that puppy, "Sage," as she is now called, is one lucky puppy.

The motorist, who did not want to be identified, called the Three Rivers Humane Society, in Madras, to see if they would take the puppy and her uninjured sister.

"We told them to take it over to the vet," said Jerilee Drynan, operations manager for Three Rivers, which is now caring for the recuperating puppy. Three Rivers has contracts with the two local veterinary clinics, Madras Animal Hospital and Cascade East Veterinary Clinic, as well as the Crooked Tails clinic in Prineville.

"Her head was split open, with a bone sticking up from her skull," she said, displaying a bloody photo of the pup taken on the day of the accident.

The man took the puppy directly to the Madras Animal Hospital, where the veterinarian, Dr. Jered Rhen, performed surgery on the puppy.

"(The accident) caused a pretty nasty laceration on the top of the head and lifted a piece of the skull," said Rhen. "So, we cleaned up the wound and laid that piece of skull back in place and were able to suture the skin over the top of all that."

Rhen said he has never been one to count stitches, but "it was a pretty healthy pile."

"The dog was remarkably calm and not showing significant signs of concussion after surgery," he said, adding that the puppy "seems to be in pretty good shape."

Rhen said that head wounds usually heal quickly, so, "We'll know (if it heals properly) within the next few days."

Sage and her sister, Saffron, are both what Drynan described as "cattle dogs" — mixed breeds. The two will be spayed when they are 10 weeks old, and be available for adoption. Saffron already has a "hold" on her for placement.

Steve Drynan, executive director of Three Rivers, said that it's not at all unusual for the Humane Society to pay for treatment for injured dogs. "Last month, we had four or five injured dogs," he said. "They come in from Warm Springs, or they are hit by a car here in town. We pretty much inundate our vets."

In 2017, Three Rivers Humane Society spent $59,196.97 on veterinary care — nearly $5,000 per month, said Drynan.

Referring to Sage, he said, "That's probably one of the worst ones we've seen come in. We see broken legs, scraped up, and emaciated puppies and dogs."

Once the dogs are back in good health and spayed and neutered, Three Rivers advertises the dogs on social media.

"Puppies, for the most part, are gone before we put them online," said Drynan. "Most are adopted before they're even spayed and neutered; they have a hold on them. But, we still have 30-50 puppies at any one time."

"A year ago, in December 2016, we had over 90 puppies," said Drynan, who operates the shelter with his wife, Jerilee. "This past year, we only had about 60; most are in foster homes. We don't adopt them out until they're 10 weeks old, after they're spayed and neutered."

Back in 2013, when the Drynans moved to Madras to run the shelter, they put together the inexpensive spay and neuter program for dogs. "When we first started this, we made an agreement (with local veterinary clinics) on spay and neuters," he said. "We get a slight discount on other services."

Three Rivers runs on adoptions fees, a contract with the county, a few grants, and donations, he added.

"We spend the money (on sick or injured dogs), because that's what our donors want," said Drynan, who fostered a dog that was found in an emaciated condition, and ended up adopting him.

The Drynans are confident that Sage will also find a home, and reported Tuesday morning that she was "doing well."

Building update

Besides raising money to care for dogs, the Drynans have also raised the funds for a new 5,600-square-foot facility to house the dogs, which was expected to open this month.

Difficulty in scheduling workers to complete the facility has delayed the opening. "The floors are getting done Wednesday," said Steve Drynan, who expects the sealant to be dry by the end of the week. "So, hopefully we'll get the kennels up next week."

Three Rivers has accepted a bid for interior painting, which should also begin next week, but still needs to have the stucco applied to the exterior.

Additionally, he said, "We're waiting on heat pumps. The heating system is done in the office, and, for the most part, in the kennels."

The $370,000 facility will have 41 indoor kennels, including five in an after-hours dropoff area accessible to law enforcement officers.

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