Posted: Mar 24, 2016 8:44 PM EDTUpdated: Mar 24, 2016 8:45 PM EDT
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) — A South Florida veterinarian turned into a hero when she jumped in to rescue a group of dogs after they were hit by a snowmobile during the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.
Dr. Lynne Tossi talked to 7News about the unforgettable trip that took a tragic turn. “I just recently got back from the 44th running of the Iditarod, the greatest sled dog race,” she said.
A banner hanging outside Tossi’s office at Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists celebrates her rookie season with the race. “It was the best experience in the world. The dogs are the best athletes that we have in the canine species,” she said.
Tossi and the other volunteer veterinarians were trained in caring for the athletic animals several days before the race, but then the unexpected happened. At her checkpoint, a snowmobile rider, who investigators said was drunk, plowed right through four-time race champion Jeff King’s team of dogs.
Tossi said she immediately rendered aid to the injured canines. “One was in shock and in need of fluid resuscitation. The other had a fracture and needed splinting and stabilization,” she said.
Sadly, one dog did not survive. Tossi managed to save the others despite the crude unforgiving conditions. “It was brutal. It was in the middle of the night. It was below-zero temperatures,” she said. “We don’t have the bells and whistles that we have here. It was total MASH triage medicine.”
Once the animals were stabilized, they were flown to a clinic in Alaska for continued treatment. Both of the surviving dogs Tossi treated are expected to recover.
Despite the horrible incident, Tossi said she hopes to return to the race next year. “I can’t wait to go back, absolutely can’t wait to go back,” she said.
Twenty-six-year-old Arnold Demoski, the snowmobile rider accused of injuring the dogs, faces several charges including assault and reckless endangerment.