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'Twister' makes an impact on veterinary student, team
LOUISVILLE -- In the wake of the tornado that tore through Louisville on April 28, overwhelmed storm victims had to make tough choices about caring for people, property and pets.
But one pet owner found a way to help his dog, ironically named Twister, when a Mississippi State University Extension Service disaster assessment team visited his property. Twister had survived the tornado but had injuries that needed immediate attention.
Brandi Karisch, Extension professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences and member of a disaster assessment team, said the team found Twister at its last stop for the day on May 1. Twister’s owners were dealing with two lost houses and property damage caused by the tornado. They were overwhelmed by the situation.
“When we saw the dog, we immediately noticed he wasn’t putting weight on his back leg. When he stood up, we realized his leg was swollen and had a large wound,” Karisch said. “His owner didn’t have a home for himself, much less the means to give the dog proper care, so he surrendered the dog to us.”
The team contacted the Student Chapter of the Disaster Animal Response Team at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine volunteering in the Louisville area to provide medical assistance to Twister.
Steven Davison, a veterinary student, was one of the team members who helped get Twister the medical help that saved his leg.
“He had been through a really traumatic situation, but he was really sweet and friendly even though he was in pain,” Davison said. “Through SCDART, I’ve been trained and prepared for responding to emergencies, so I was happy to get to be of assistance in this sad situation. I gained a better understanding of how important animals are to people, and I saw that first-hand when Twister’s owner cared enough to let him go.”
Davison and the SCDART team took Twister to Dr. Fred Nabers, a veterinarian at the Animal Medical and Surgical Clinic in Louisville, to receive immediate care. After suturing the wound on Twister’s leg and a wound on his tail base, Nabers said Twister should make a full recovery.
Nabers, who has practiced veterinary medicine for 38 years, said he and his staff discussed the best way to serve the community after the tornado hit.
“We thought we needed to be out in the community helping people,” Nabers said. “Then I told them people are going to be coming here with injured animals after losing their homes and needing a place to keep their pets. I realized we are helping people when we’re helping their animals. Someone else can run a chainsaw or pick up debris, but they may be unable sew up a dog.”
After recovering at the Animal Medical and Surgical Clinic, Twister will go to the Louisville animal shelter for adoption. Davison said he will make sure Twister finds a new loving home -- even if it is with Davison himself.
“I’m moving to Florida soon to work at the University of Florida, and I’m hoping to work with their disaster response team, too,” Davison said. “If Twister has any problem finding a home, I’ll take him with me to Florida. And hopefully Twister will never have to encounter a twister again.”
Contact: Karen Templeton, 662-325-1100; or Dr. Fred Nabers, 662-773-8188