Reader's Letter: An experience with veterinary treatment on a Sunday
Driving from Gstaad to Feutersoey, we came upon a dog that had been hit by a car. It was badly wounded, but completely conscious and in great pain. The man who had driven over the dog had called the police who had just arrived at the scene, and there were four or five officers there when we arrived. There was a friend of mine with the dog in the middle of the road. It was not possible to move the dog without a muzzle, a blanket and a stretcher, and having only been called out for a dog, the police had only brought a dog cage. They went to get a stretcher, and we had the blanket and the muzzle in our car. The police were mainly interested in finding the owner of the dog, which only had a collar without a name tag or a chip.
We kept insisting to find a vet and that we would pay for all the expenses. Then we finally got them to start calling the different vets. It was Sunday, and there was no vet available; either they were not answering or they were in the Alps. We tried every small animal vet from Bulle (where someone answered the phone but was not able to handle this case) to Thun. They were the closest that could take care of her.
But by this time the dog had been lying in the sun and police car for some considerable time, and traveling 45 minutes by road would have given her no chance to survive. We therefore called for a helicopter. The police drove with her to Saanen airport and one policeman, two pilots, and my husband flew with her on the 15-minute ride to Thun. They were able to land on the football field just across from the clinic, where a taxi and the police were there to help.
Her front leg needed to be amputated, and she had several fractures in her hind quarters. That same evening they were able to contact the owner, who drove to the clinic and elected to have her put to sleep. Maybe she could have been saved but it would have taken some time for her to live a normal life. If the owner had not showed up we would have taken of her.
Animals have the same feelings and feel pain just like we do; they also the same right to live on this earth. It is not because we are more intelligent that we should treat animals without respect. It is not right that it was impossible to find a vet during the weekend. For humans there are always doctors on duty. The police came the scene but without a list of different vets, and suitable first aid supplies such as a stretcher, muzzle etc. They were in no hurry to get the dog to a vet to alleviate its suffering, except for the suggestion to take her to a forester and have her shot in the head. I do not think they would do this with a person or a child.