Fluffy and Hank

In Loving Memory of Jingles

Palm Harbor, Florida

At around 10:30am on Wednesday, February 11, 2009, the unassuming life of the 10-year-old, chubby American Eskimo named “Jingles” would literally “explode” upon the Tampa Bay scene. The name Jingles would soon be in the hearts and prayers of thousands of Tampa Bay area residents as his story would unfold in the media.

Jingles was at home with his owner Duane Cole at their 1524 Michigan Avenue, Dunedin residence when suddenly an explosion sent both of them flying. Jingles landed in the back patio area. A wall collapsed on the little dog, burying him in a pile of rubble. Duane also landed in the back patio area, but lucky for him, out in the open, not under the fallen wall.

Within seconds of the explosion, the entire house was on fire. Emergency crews from nearby municipalities arrived quickly to put the blaze out. Rescue workers searched the house and back yard for survivors. They found Duane and rushed him via Bay Flight to Tampa General Hospital, where doctors determined his severe burns were not life threatening.

On their first walk through, firefighters did not find Jingles. Thankfully, on their second pass, they heard the soft whimpering of a dog and located Jingles trapped under the debris. They carried the disoriented dog to the front yard to find shade under a tree. In shock and suffering from smoke inhalation, Jingles needed oxygen immediately if any hope existed for his survival, so firefighters began administering the gas through an ill-fitting human oxygen mask.

As fate would play a major role, veterinarian Elizabeth Baird was in the crowd. Having heard – and felt – the blast from her nearby home, Dr. Baird, owner of Country Oaks Animal Hospital, ran barefooted to the house to find out if any animals were victims of the blast. When she arrived at the house, she saw Jingles lying under the tree with firefighters around him. She approached a Pinellas County Sheriff Deputy and offered her professional assistance.

It did not take long for Dr. Baird’s experience in emergency medicine to play a major role in Jingle’s life and death struggle. He was unresponsive, and it was important that he receive the proper flow of oxygen as quickly as possible. The mask placed on Jingles was made for a human, not a dog, and Dr. Baird recognized the problem immediately (ironically, she was scheduled to speak the next day at a press conference, set by Suncoast Animal League, on the virtues of animal oxygen masks in saving lives at emergency events such as fires).

Dr. Baird asked the firefighters for an animal oxygen mask and Deputy Fire Marshall Kelly Intzes, of the Dunedin Fire Department, ran to her emergency vehicle and quickly returned with the proper mask. “It was important, not only for the damage to his lungs but also getting oxygen into the brain in a concussion is critical,” Baird said. “So the fact that we could get oxygen into this dog is huge.”

Jingles then experienced a gran mal seizure, which Dr. Baird was able to contain, but without the use of oxygen at that very moment, the seizure would likely have left Jingles permanently brain damaged.

Dr. Baird then transferred Jingles to the closest veterinary office, Animal Hospital of Dunedin, where Jingles then spent the next five hours under the expert emergency care of Dr. Richmond and head Veterinary Technician, Victoria Hennessy.

They continued with the oxygen therapy and included medication for stabilization, emergency fluid therapy, pain management, burn treatment, x-rays and blood work. All the while, Hennessy never left his side. At around 3:30 that afternoon, Jingles was stable enough to be transferred by Rick Chaboudy, Executive Director of Suncoast Animal League to Florida Veterinary Specialists in Tampa for more extensive treatment.

After a full examination, they determined Jingles suffered from smoke inhalation, severe burns, a swollen jaw, broken teeth, shrapnel imbedded in his skin, and major swelling of the brain. The prognosis was certainly not good, but with the emergency care he had received from Dr. Baird, then Animal Hospital of Dunedin, and finally Florida Veterinary Specialists, there was some amount of hope for Jingles.

And then the wait began.

Jingles’ condition worsened over the next couple of days, as the burns and infection spread. Finally, on Saturday, February 14th, Jingles was taken off the oxygen unit and began breathing on his own. Even the burns seemed more in control, but the swelling of the brain remained a major concern.¬†

The veterinarians were unable to make any neurological assessment because Jingles was on such extreme doses of pain medication, but the little dog kept fighting. On Sunday, February 15th, the vets were able to decrease the pain medications and finally made a neurological assessment. They feared blindness. On Monday morning the news was by far the most encouraging yet, as Jingles had a fairly comfortable night and was trying to stand. They also concurred that Jingles was not blind.

The following week showed the typical ups and downs of an animal recovering from a traumatic medical experience. On Thursday, February 19th, Jingles had surgery to clean necrotic skins lesions. Friday he was recovering nicely, and we were all feeling incredibly positive that Jingles had gotten through the worst of it. The vets felt quite sure that, barring any unforeseen complications, Jingles would fully recover and lead a normal life. It seemed this chubby little American Eskimo was going to defy the odds.

And then the unforeseen complications happened. On Saturday, February 21st, during his daily regular treatment to clean his wounds, Jingles suffered from a cardiac arrest, brought on by a blood clot. The vet was able to revive him, but later in the afternoon, it happened again. The second cardiac arrest was much more severe than the first, and this time Jingles did not survive. He passed away around 4pm on Saturday afternoon.

Jingles is gone, but not his memory.

We will not forget the photo in the St. Pete Times of Jingles being carried out by the firefighter or the veterinarian and the emergency medical personnel with Jingles on the stretcher. We will not forget how this story made us feel about a little dog’s fight to live. And we will never forget what Duane Cole, Jingles’ owner said after Florida Veterinary Specialists called to tell him the bad news, “Now, I’ve lost everything.”

Final Thoughts

Suncoast Animal League would like to thank the firefighters, emergency medical technicians, Deputy Fire Marshall Kelly Intzes, Dr. Baird, Dr. Richmond and head Veterinary Technician, Victoria Hennessy of Animal Hospital of Dunedin, as well as the rest of their staff, and everyone at Florida Veterinary Specialists for their gallant efforts to save Jingles. We would also like to thank the caring and generous supporters for being there in this time of need.

We may be saddened by the tragic turn of events, but we can all be proud of the fact that there was truly nothing more we could have done. So remember Jingles as a plump, little dog who, for 10 days, seemed to defy all odds, and made you feel like his 40 pounds was all heart.

Daily Medical Journal

The following is a copy of the daily journal we were keeping on Jingles’ condition which we had planned on sharing with the public on our website. Unfortunately, Jingles passed away before we had the opportunity to add it.

Wednesday February 11
Jingles is taken to Animal Hospital of Dunedin where he receives emergency care consisting of oxygen therapy, stabilization medication, fluid therapy, pain management, burn treatment, x-rays and blood work. Jingles is stabilized and was transferred to Florida Veterinary Specialists. He suffers from smoke inhalation, severe burns, a swollen jaw, broken teeth, shrapnel imbedded in his skin, and major swelling of the brain.

Thursday, February 12
Jingles is in critical condition and being kept in an oxygen unit 24 hours a day. He is placed on heavy pain medications due to the severity of the burns. This makes any assessment of neurological damage impossible.

Friday, February 13
Jingles stabilizes somewhat, but is still touch-and-go. The burns are spreading and he is still on oxygen. He is still heavily medicated. Still, a neurological assessment is not possible.

Saturday, February 14
Good news, Jingles is able to breathe on his own and is taken off the oxygen. His burns have stopped spreading, and there is no permanent smoke inhalation damage, however, the swelling of the brain is still a major concern. The vets attempt to decrease the pain medication, but the dog’s body does not react well. Heavy pain medication is continued.

Sunday, February 15
Jingles pain medication is successfully decreased. He is starting to become aware of his surroundings, and he is attempting to stand. Bad news is there is a concern that he may have lost his eye sight. The burns continue to spread.

Monday, February 15
Jingles had his best night yet. It has been determined that his eye sight has returned. Jingles is finally able to stand, but only on three legs. Although no bones are broken in the fourth leg, he does not put weight on it. He may require surgery on the burns to remove skin that has now become necrotic. He also has started to vomit which adds another concern.

Tuesday, February 16
Jingles had another good night. He is standing, but still not using one of his front legs. Surgery on the wounds is necessary and will be scheduled in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, February 17
Jingles continues to improve, and the vet believes that he will lead a normal life. His surgery is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. One concern is the front leg. According to x-rays there is no sign of damage but Jingles is still not using it. Some concern about neurological damage still exists.

Thursday, February 19
Jingles had surgery on his wounds today. It went very well, but a second surgery might be necessary. He is not using his right front leg and neurological damage is expected.

Friday, February 20
Jingles has recovered from yesterday’s surgery. A second surgery will be necessary in the next few days. Jingles is showing some movement in his front leg. Jingles is actually able to stand on his own. Twice daily visits from his owner, Duane Cole seem to be helping Jingles rally back to health.

Saturday, February 21
Today’s update is written with a heavy heart. This is about a tiny blood clot that was an unforeseen obstacle on Jingles’ road to recovery. During routine treatment of his burns today, Jingles suffered a cardiac arrest. It was severe, but true to his spirit, Jingles would not go without a fight. Jingles was revived.

A short time later, Jingles’ owner, Duane Cole arrived at Florida Veterinary Specialists and spent some quality time with all that he had left from the explosion, his dog. A few hours later, Jingles succumbed to a second cardiac arrest. His fight is now over.