PEOPLE | PETS | COMMUNITY

Saving Ki: Summit Veterinary Referral Center

It was an uncharacteristically cold August morning last year when the unthinkable happened. The fog had yet to lift as Shawn Canepa walked out to the front porch and his employees began to arrive. Just then, he heard a terrible noise that was barely audible over the sound of tires crunching over the gravel driveway. It was the sound of fear and of pain. The sound was Ki.

Shawn shouted over his shoulder to his wife, Sarah, as he sprinted across the yard. One of his employees had backed over Ki. The employee, completely oblivious to what had happened, put the car in drive. Shawn knew that Ki was about to be hit again. He slid to a stop and grabbed Ki just before the tire got to her. Ki was so terror stricken that she bit down on Shawn’s hand, hard.

By the time Shawn got back to the porch cradling Ki’s limp body in his arms, Sarah was there. Both Ki and Shawn were covered in blood. It took only a moment to assess the situation. With a quick exam, Sarah realized that the blood belonged to Shawn, and that something internally was very wrong with Ki. Her legs weren’t moving, and she was having trouble breathing.

Ki with her family

After getting Ki to their trusted local veterinarian, Dr. Allan at Pacific Northwest Veterinary Hospital, and Shawn to the ER for stitches, they tensely waited to hear Ki’s prognosis. The vet soon shared that Ki had a punctured lung, and that air was filling her chest cavity. The quick-acting vet was able to get Ki breathing again and stabilized, and while the Canepas were glad to see the color returning to her gums, they also knew that Ki wasn’t out of the woods. She still couldn’t move her legs. Ki was then referred to VCA Kitsap Hospital.

“I remember thinking, ‘No. Ki’s story could not end this way,’” said Shawn.

The vet knew that they didn’t have the equipment needed to see what was going on inside Ki and referred the family to Summit Veterinary Referral Center for further treatment. Ki was transported in the back of the Canepas’ car, strapped to a backboard, in an effort to protect her from further injury. Both Shawn and Sarah thought back over Ki’s life during their drive from Sequim to Tacoma. She had overcome so much. Just four years prior, she had been diagnosed with cancer, and after extensive treatment was given a clean bill of health. “Ki is a husky; they are strong dogs, both physically and in spirit,” Sarah explained. “We were wrestling with the decision of whether or not to put her through any more medical procedures. Were we just being selfish?” They had both looked back at Ki, strapped down in the back seat. She smiled back at them; the light was still in her eyes. The Canepas knew then that Ki wasn’t giving up, she was still fighting. So would they.

Ki was examined by a neurologist at Summit.

“Ki’s case is a wonderful example of the collaborative effort of all the incredible doctors and staff at Summit,” said Dr. Finnerty, neurologist at Summit. “She was initially brought in through the emergency department, where the doctors worked for several days to stabilize her and treat her shock and pneumothorax (lung puncture). Ki sustained a spinal fracture in the accident which made her care even more challenging. Once she was deemed healthy enough for anesthesia, we took her to surgery and repaired her spinal fracture with a combination of pins and bone cement. She had an incredibly quick recovery and was able to move her hind limbs the day after surgery. It has been such a joy to watch Ki recover, and she is back to running and playing with her sister!”

Ki recovering from surgery

“I felt so comfortable with the staff at Summit. I could call any time of day or night, and whoever was assigned to the doggie ICU would gladly take the time to fill us in on any developments. They cared, and I felt so safe knowing they were taking care of Ki,” Sarah remembered. “Sitting in the lobby, we watched family after family come through the doors, and the doctors and staff took their time with each one, answering questions and giving support. The doctors were truly vested in making my dog better. One of the staff members told us how elated Dr. Finnerty was about her quick recovery after surgery.”

After Ki returned home again, there was still much healing left to do. The Canepas had a sling for Ki, to assist her in getting outside to potty, and to help her grow stronger. To see her today, you’d never guess that less than a year ago she couldn’t move her legs. She races across the ranch where she lives, playing with her little sister Kirra, running in and out of the pasture and visiting their horses, Meadow and Daisy.

Ki has a full life and a love-filled home. And thanks to the team at Summit, she’s still here to enjoy it.

To learn more about Summit, visit their website here