Benji in his local park looking to camera

Hit-and-run dog back on his paws

When she woke up from a month-long coma, coronavirus survivor Katherine Oscislawski was oblivious to the horror that had just unfolded back at home.

Her family, who had just been celebrating the news Katherine was conscious, were rushing their beloved dog Benji to our Victoria animal hospital in central London after he was hit by a car. 

The shih tzu cross Yorkshire terrier had bolted out of the front door and straight into the road just five minutes after doctors called with the update from hospital.

Coronavirus survivor Katherine with her beloved Benji.
Coronavirus survivor Katherine with her beloved Benji.

The driver didn’t stop and Benji, who turned one that same day – which was also Easter Sunday – was left lying in the road, lifeless.

Katherine’s daughter Savannah, who had moved back home to help her dad care for her three younger brothers, 17, 14 and three, said: “It was one thing on top of another. Literally, mum’s woken up, and then five minutes later this happened.

“Our other dog Zippy had seen and heard it – they sit in the window together. He was whimpering and crying and shaking. You don’t think they would feel anything, but he was very, very sad.

Benji running down the steps at his local park

“Dad put Benji straight in the car and drove him to the vets. He was barely moving at this point. I thought: ‘This is it’.” 

Benji arrived at Blue Cross in agony and severe shock. His whole body was swollen, and the poor boy screamed to be touched only lightly. 

We immediately gave him pain relief and, while preliminary X-rays looked promising, vets were unable to sedate him to carry out further tests when he was in such a severe state of shock.

Happy Benji jumping through the air in his local park
Benji is now back to living life to the full.

Vet Mihaela Gherman said: “He was in pain everywhere when he arrived. He was on strong painkillers every four hours and needed to be on a drip to supply a constant supply of intravenous pain relief to keep him as comfortable as possible. We had to monitor him 24/7.”

Meanwhile, his family were besides themselves with worry. Benji, along with Zippy, had been a huge comfort for them since Katherine was rushed into intensive care on Mother’s Day in March. They hadn’t seen her for weeks.

Katherine said: “My husband, Tyran, said that Benji knew when he was sad. He would come to him and nuzzle him, and he drew comfort from that. 

Katherine giving Benji a hug

“Even though he had lots of people around him, at times he felt so alone as the doctors were telling him to prepare for the worst. He could not allow his mind to go there. 

“And then to have his dog hit by a car, he was saying: ‘Please, God, I can’t take any more. You’re telling me my wife might die and now my dog!’ He got down in the street on his knees and started to pray for the dog.”

The following day, Benji was strong enough to be sedated for detailed X-rays and an ultrasound, which thankfully didn’t reveal any obvious damage to his internal organs or bones. 

Katherine with Benji and daughter Savannah at their local park
Katherine with Benji and her daughter Savannah.

He wasn’t out of the woods but, under the watchful eye of our dedicated vets and nurses, the swelling started to subside, and his condition slowly improved.

Our team breathed a huge sigh of relief when Benji ate for the first time, a sure sign he was on the mend. And while he was still very sore, after three days he was able to be reunited with his family to continue his recovery at home. 

Savannah said: “He was quite sore for a few weeks after. But it was just great to have him back and know he was okay.”

Benji looking to camera as he explores his local park

Of the Blue Cross team that cared for Benji, she added: “I think they were so amazing, more so compassionate – not even just about the dogs, but us as people as well, which you don’t always get. It was really reassuring.”

And a couple of weeks later, Katherine was able to return home too, to two wagging tails. She affectionately refers to the duo as Batman and Robin, as they’re never far from each other’s sides.

She said: “I couldn’t wait to see my family. To see my dogs. Oh, it was beautiful.”

Benji exploring his local park
Benji is one of hundreds of poorly pets we were there for during the first lockdown.

Benji was one of hundreds of emergency cases that came through Blue Cross doors during the first lockdown. Our teams were there round the clock, with adapted ways of working, to ensure no animal went without the urgent care they needed.

Mihaela added: “No matter what – and in this case, a full Covid-19 pandemic – we are here for the animals.”

We’ve never closed our doors to pets in the greatest need, and 2020 was no different.

Benji on lead looking to camera with Katherine in background
— Page last updated 21/12/2020