There’s nothing like having your best friend ride shotgun on a long stretch of highway, especially if that friend is four-legged. The bond a trucker has with his dog is much like the bond a parent has with a child—made unbreakable by the glue of mutual need. Long-distance trucker Russell Kaetsu and his Baby Girl have been a bonded pair for years, just like two peas in a pod. They eat, sleep, play and go everywhere together. That is, they did until he suffered a medical emergency while driving his rig through Jacksonville. Not only was his own life in the balance, he was almost permanently separated from his beloved pup. Even as he was headed for an operating room miles from home, Kaetsu wasn’t worried about himself, just his Baby Girl. I’ll let her take the wheel and tell the story.
IN HER WORDS
It happened like this: One minute we were cruising down the interstate, and the next we pulled into a truck stop. My human wasn’t feeling well, so I sat by his side until help arrived and took him away. I was left stranded, with enough food and water for three days. One thing led to another and I was soon rescued by a trucker from Tennessee who got me out of the truck and into the arms of Pet Rescue North.
We are our only family. Kaetsu has no relatives in the States, and I’m not sure what became of my littermates, but we’ve got each other, and that’s a lot. When he found out he needed open-heart surgery, Peggy, a nice lady from Pet Rescue North, stepped up to take care of me during his recovery. She told me not to worry, that she would find a way to keep us together. He’s still in the hospital, but she sends him pictures of me daily, and saves his voicemails so I can hear his voice. Still, Russell was feeling low and lonely. Pet Rescue North posted information about our situation on social media, and the outpouring of support was remarkable. The community really rallied around him to lift his spirts. People sent him cards, others even visited him in the hospital.
I’ve made some new friends, too, and have adjusted to my new surroundings, but I miss my dad and think about him a lot. He’s much recovered, but still too weak for a quick visit with me. I hope we’ll reunite soon; I’ll be so happy to see him and get back to spending our lives together. Everyone here has been so nice, we’re both thinking we could call Jacksonville home.
Sometimes pets are the forgotten victims in a medical emergency. While their owners are being treated, there can be a desperate search to find a caretaker. Fortunately, there are nonprofit organizations, like Pet Rescue North, dedicated to rescuing, fostering and—if necessary—finding forever homes for pets, and caring for beloved animals for people who are hospitalized, ensuring they receive care until the owner is recovered.
Volunteers have started a GoFundMe to help Russell Kaetsu get an apartment when he recovers; gofundme.com/home-for-russell-and-babygirl. Follow his journey on Pet Rescue North’s Facebook page; learn more about the organization at petrescuenorth.com.
Davi the dachshund sends healing thoughts and belly rubs to Russell and Baby Girl.