Texas Uber driver saves dog hit by car and dumped by family

Dallas, TX: This is an incredible story of giving and sacrifice. The first hero you’re going to meet is an Uber driver, Michelle Turnbow. She should receive a 5-star rating for the lifesaving ride she gave to a black Labrador hit by a car.

It all started last Friday about 6:40am. Michelle dropped off a customer at DFW Airport and was making her way downtown. That’s when she spotted a female black lab darting out into traffic on the Stemmons Freeway Access Road. Michelle acted quickly, “I first saw her, slowed down and tried to block her with my car so she didn’t run out onto the highway and she went back off the road into the grass,” she said.

Michelle accelerated so she could turn her car around and come back to try and catch the dog before she got hit by a car. Sadly, by the time she made it back, it was too late.

She saw the dog lying on the ground and the poor pooch could not get up. Michelle recalls, “It was horrible, it was scary. A man was standing over her with his car headlights shining on her. I asked if he was going to take her to an animal hospital and he said he was just going to drag her to the side of the road. Other cars were whizzing by and no one stopped, they just kept going. I can’t comprehend it. The man did not hit the dog, he just wanted her removed from the street.”  

That’s when Michelle knew though this dog didn’t have a smartphone, and didn’t have access to an Uber app, this was going to be the most important ride of her day, and her client couldn't pay the tab.

Michelle clocked off her Uber app and asked the man standing over the dog to help load her into her car. She then drove to a safe location, pulled over, made sure the dog was comfortable and posted on Facebook asking for help.

"Jenna" shortly after she was hit by the car.

"Jenna" shortly after she was hit by the car.

You see in Texas animal rescue is big. Tens of thousands of dogs get killed in shelters across the state each year because people don’t spay, neuter or take care of their pets. Rescue groups rally for animals in the Lone Star State. She was in geographic good company.

Facebook post for the dog Michelle's friend Cindy made.

Facebook post for the dog Michelle's friend Cindy made.

Her pal, who also happens to be a pet detective, Cindy, responded first. She found a vet in Frisco who would examine the dog even though Michelle certainly could not afford to pay the vet bill. With every moment she spent with this poor dog she was losing out on money making rides, Michelle said, “I had 37 dollars in my bank account, it didn’t matter, I did whatever was needed. We were just hoping we could find a rescue group to take her in.”

Photo of Michelle Turnbow, courtesy of Uber 

It’s not the first time she’s been an incredible caretaker. Michelle started driving for Uber after quitting her job working in finance at an insurance company. She needed more flexible hours to spend time with her dog who was suffering from cancer. 

So what does Michelle do next? She drove the approximately 30 miles to the “The Pet Vet” in Frisco. Now there aren’t many vets who would take on a dog who had no one paying the tab. The vet here was clever and applied for an emergency grant to cover the bill.

Meantime, Michelle says, her pet detective pal was trying to figure out if this dog had an owner. Turned out she had a microchip! Michelle says when Cindy called the number registered to the chip the person who answered acted like they didn’t have a dog and hung up! So now they had to figure out who could take this poor pup. 

Michelle stayed with the dog the entire day as the vet did X-rays, tests and bloodwork. The diagnosis: A dislocated shoulder, a torn ACL and a possible chip fracture on her ankle. Yikes! "She seemed depressed and sad. I could tell she was sweet and I knew she was hurt," Michelle said.

One of Jenna's X-rays showing her shoulder injury. 

One of Jenna's X-rays showing her shoulder injury. 

As the clock clicked close to 6pm, Michelle wasn’t going to just leave this dog at the vet’s office.

Cue Dawn Ladny from Lucky Lab Rescue and Adoption. This incredible story of amazing people who rallied for this dog continues. 

Dawn raced over to the vet clinic straight from her doctor’s office. Why? Get this: She’s a breast cancer patient who spends part of each day getting radiation treatments. Dawn heard about this dog from all the Facebook posts. Cancer wasn’t going to stop her from helping.

“I walked into the vet’s office and met Michelle, and was greeted with a big hug and a sincere ‘thank you’ for coming,” Dawn said. “We were shuffled into the exam room where they brought the sweet dog in. I laid down on the floor with the dog and just pet her gently. The vet explained that the dog appeared to have been on the run for a while, noting that she had a lot of loose skin on her topline, which was indicative of weight decline.  She then noted that they could see trash and other debris in her intestines on the X-ray, so it was evident that was her diet, as of late, to keep from going hungry.  Being told this just broke my heart!”

Dawn is supposed to be taking it easy, but the vet stabilized this dog and she needed a place to go. So what does Dawn do?  She loads the dog, she named “Jenna", into her car and headed out. Dawn isn’t supposed to be lifting anything, including big Labradors who can barely walk. “This sweet girl just looked up at me with her soft brown eyes like she was counting on me to give her a better life. She was so gentle and trusting, I just couldn’t leave her behind,” Dawn said.

Lucky Lab Rescue and Adoption is working with the vet’s office to figure out what the next steps will be for Jenna and if she will need surgery.

And if you’re asking: How does Jenna, with her terrible injuries, get around? Dawn’s boyfriend, Paul Nagy, “Macgyvered” a Container Store laundry cart and buckled a life vest around it and voila: A mobile dog rehab cart to help Jenna get outside to potty.

Paul Nagy and his "doggie transporter" he built just for Jenna. 

Paul Nagy and his "doggie transporter" he built just for Jenna. 

Everyone in this story made huge sacrifices for Jenna, Michelle said she knows it was all worth it, “It’s her soul, you can tell she has a sweet soul.”

And Dawn adds, “She is just the sweetest dog. When I walk into the room where she is resting, she lifts her head and looks at me with that sweet face of hers and wags her tail.  She lays down and lets me rub her tummy. She is quiet and gentle and just a sweet, trusting soul. How anyone could abandon her is beyond my comprehension.”

Check back for updates on Jenna and her progress. Right now she is in good spirits. Lucky Lab Rescue and Adoption is looking for a foster home for the pooch in the Frisco area so she can continue working with The Pet Vet.

UPDATE, January 24, 2017:  Jenna walks! After spending a couple weeks off her feet, on the mend, being assisted with her home made doggie moving cart, Jenna is walking on her own.  She's not just walking, her tail is wagging and full of joy. The vets are watching her recovery and are deciding if she may need surgery. 

Lucky Lab Rescue is looking for someone who maybe interested in adopting Jenna in the Frisco or DFW area who would continue working with her vet team. She is very friendly with people, kids, dogs and cats. House trained too! 

The rescue will pay for any surgery or vet care Jenna needs if it is not covered by grants. 

Here is a video of Jenna showing off on all fours! 

Jenna is now getting around very well! 

UPDATE February 26, 2017: Jenna is adopted! 

A happy ending for Jenna, she was adopted today!  We're told her new family is thrilled and as you can see below, they already love her very much. Congratulations Jenna!