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Byline: Jack Moran The Register-Guard

SPRINGFIELD - Plenty of 5-year-olds get excited when they receive gifts on Christmas morning.

Not all of them end up in the emergency room like Tank, a 120-pound German shepherd-English mastiff mix who earned himself a trip to the hospital on Monday after an outburst over a brand-new stuffed animal.

The accident happened when the big dog snatched his present, raced off to play with it and slipped on a patch of linoleum, toppling a ceramic vase that shattered under his weight.

Fortunately, Tank's owner, Elizabeth O'Callaghan of Eugene, knew exactly what to do.

She picked up the phone and rang the Emergency Veterinary Hospital in Springfield, where medical professionals were available to mend her dog's bleeding left hind leg.

"I called here just to make sure they were open, and they said, 'Yep, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,' ' said O'Callaghan, who ended up spending part of her Christmas at the clinic with boyfriend Bryan Donovan, who gave Tank the gift that led to the mishap.

"(Tank) was bleeding all over the place, but I know he's definitely not the worst case that has been through here today," O'Callaghan said.

Dozens of pet owners filled the hospital's waiting room on Monday, seeking help from the only facility in Lane County that provides around-the-clock emergency care and trauma service to animals. The next-closest emergency clinic is in Corvallis.

The 34-bed Springfield hospital was fully staffed for the Christmas holiday, with a pair of veterinarians and about a half-dozen technicians on hand to treat dogs and cats suffering from a variety of ailments.

"So far, it's been just like any other day," veterinarian Ingrid Kessler said.

Kessler and fellow vet Mark McConnell bought the emergency hospital earlier this year and expanded its hours to accommodate pet owners whose animals become unexpectedly sick or injured.

One satisfied customer is Karleene Morrow of Newport, a show breeder who was visiting family in Eugene on Christmas Eve when her Pomeranian fell ill.

"We're not quite sure what happened to her," Morrow said of her 5-month-old pet, Moxie. "She was dehydrated and disoriented."

The little dog seemed refreshed and healthy on Monday afternoon, following an overnight stay at the hospital. The quick recovery prompted Morrow to praise the work of Kessler and her staff.

"It's so valuable to have a place like this open all the time," Morrow said while holding her pet. "A little dog like mine might have been dead if she couldn't get in here.

`But they took care of her and she's fine now."
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Title Annotation:Animals; Any holiday, owners have a place to bring pets needing medical attention
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Dec 26, 2006
Previous Article:Governor plans capital projects.

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