Readers come to aid of man saddled with high vet bills for rescued dog

ANNAPOLIS, MD -- A Lothian man who rescued an injured dog has discovered that one random act of kindness can beget another $11,900 worth, and counting.

Jim Cox rescued the dog from the middle of rush-hour traffic last month and soon found himself facing over $4,000 in veterinary bills as a result. He made a plea for aid to defray some of the bills in the Jan. 27 edition of The Capital. By Tuesday, he'd already received thousands of dollars more than needed to meet the dog's expenses.

''This is unbelievable. We don't know how to express our gratitude and amazement,'' the dog do-gooder said.

The dog, a roughly 2-year-old German shepherd, sustained major injuries when it was struck by a car on Suitland Parkway in Prince George's County Jan. 17.

Mr. Cox stopped in the middle of the fast lane to pick up the bloodied dog from the opposite lane of traffic and took it to the nearest vet.

Mr. Cox and his wife, Jennifer, tried to find the dog's owner but to no avail.

Georgia, a name picked by the couple, has been through two surgeries to repair a broken femur, and her front leg elbow is dislocated and in a cast.

The second cast was applied Wednesday at Chesapeake Veterinary Referral Center in Annapolis.

''She goes back next week, and (veterinarians) said she might be able to get the cast removed then,'' Mr. Cox said.

The staff there was also stunned by the outpouring of support. Not only have they received envelopes of cash and checks on the dog's behalf, Georgia has even received flowers and hand-written get well notes.

Veterinary assistant Shelley Bean has been trying to keep it all straight.

''It's overwhelming, to put it mildly,'' she said.

Ms. Bean was out sick Wednesday and returned Thursday to a stack of over 50 envelopes delivered in one day. ''I am in shock. We have individuals, businesses, law offices and anonymous donors it's out of control.''

''Some have even had their dogs sign the notes with a paw print,'' she added.

As if the Coxes did not have enough to do caring for Georgia, they now have a responsibility to monitor the donations.

''My accountant says I need to set up a trust account,'' Mr. Cox said. ''And we are doing that.'' Mr. Cox said that money left over after Georgia is finished with an estimated two to three months of rehabilitation will go to support other pet care centers.

''The referral clinic, the SPCA, the Hirsch Fund (a named for a former employee at Chesapeake Animal Clinic in Owings) and maybe even German Shepherd Rescue will get something,'' he said.

''A lot of other animals will benefit from her troubles.''

Georgia came home last weekend after undergoing her second surgery Jan. 26.

''They sent her home with some sedatives to try to keep her still,'' he said. That is the key to her future. Dr. Joseph Prostredny, at the Chesapeake Veterinary Referral Center in Annapolis who performed the surgery said, ''If they can keep her still for about eight weeks, her prognosis is excellent.''

Mr. Cox was at first disheartened because no one had stopped along the road to help him aid Georgia but now his heart swells.

''My view of humanity is certainly changing. There are a lot of good people out there,'' he said.

''We will certainly get writer's cramp sending all those thank-you notes.''