Reporting Maria Medina
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A little dog helped to rescue her owner, a local little league coach who had an accident and was nearly paralyzed. She’s also inspired him to recover from his injuries.
Chelse, a 10-year-old daschund may be credited in saving her owner’s life, but it was her own near-tragedy that is giving him motivation to walk again.
Tom McKinney recently discovered the meaning of the phrase “man’s best friend.”
In May, it was Chelse who found him lying in his backyard unable to move from the neck down.
“And I can’t move and I know my neck is broken,” said Tom.
Tom fell 17 feet after his wooden ladder broke underneath him just as was about to finish putting a net over a cherry tree to keep the birds away.
While Tom lay helpless outside, unable to muster the strength to scream for help, his wife was napping and had no idea of what had just happened. Then came Chelse.
“I just said, ‘go get your mama’. She literally, like Lassie, took off. I could hear her barking in the house,” said Tom.
Tom’s wife knew something was wrong from Chelse’s persistent barking. The dog led the way to Tom and a call to 9-1-1.
“He was extremely lucky…extremely lucky,” said Sutter North Medical Center spokesman Dr. Bryan Rodrigues.
Doctors were worried that Tom may never walk again, but just two months later he’s moving around. He says he drew strength from Chelse who, seven years ago, also had to learn to walk all over again,
“Our vet had said, “you know that she had broken her back,’” said Tom.
They never thought Chelse could walk again. Tom says that if she can do it, why can’t he?
“[She] basically said, ‘don’t you quit.’ Anyway, I won’t,” said Tom.
Tom says his next goals are to take off his neck brace and his cast from his foot. He’ll find out if he can do those in the next few weeks, then he’ll try to take a few steps without his walker. He still doesn’t have much feeling from the neck down, but his doctors are optimistic about his recovery. He’d like to get back to working full-time for the little league and be able to hug his wife again.
If you’d like to help Tom and his wife pay for mounting medical bills, you can make donations at the Gold Country Bank in Marysville. Checks can be made payable to the Tom McKinney Donation Fund.