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Family dog takes a frightful face-first dive

Meet Russell, the loveable curmudgeonly pooch that Silva Sahakian brought into her family's life (and into her heart).

When it came time to adopt a new pooch, Silva’s coworker recommended adopting from a local nonprofit that rescues dogs from overseas. She went with her daughters, Megan, Lauren and Nicole, to meet a puppy or two—and ended up going home with three.

Silva remembers, “We got to the shelter and these three were in one little doorway. They were all very small. They were all in one bed, and they were on top of each other.”

Megan adds, “When we picked [Russell] up, Maui started to cry. So Lauren was like, ‘Mom, we have to get both of them—we can’t just leave her alone.’”

Of course, going home without Obie, the last sibling at the shelter, wouldn’t do either. Within a few short minutes, the family adopted all three.

That excitement to be with his people makes Russell the star of the Sahakian family. However, thanks to one stumble at just the wrong time, and it also led to this Hambone-nominated emergency.

What happened?

On the fateful day, the girls were getting ready inside while the three pups ran around in the backyard.

Megan went outside to greet the pups. “I’m like, ‘Oh my God—hi Maui, Obie, Russell!’ I start to greet them. And [Russell] is so excited that I’m on the patio,” she recalls.

The route to the backyard includes three small concrete steps, which the dogs regularly navigate with no problems.

“[Russell] is already close to the ground because he’s already short, he missed the step—and his jaw went straight into the second step,” Megan recounts.

The sisters congregated over Russell to make sure he was okay. He was pawing furiously at his mouth, which was bleeding, and they couldn’t assess the extent of the damage. They loaded Russell into the car and drove to the veterinary hospital.

Nicole remembers, “We couldn’t tell what was wrong with his teeth. Honestly, we thought he broke his jaw because his mouth was open.”

Fortunately, Russell hadn’t broken his jaw. However, he had cracked several of his front teeth, which would require extraction.

Lauren adds, “If I remember correctly, one of the teeth that had to be extracted went so much into his gums that they told us that if they can’t extract, it could definitely cause him more problems.”

Fortunately, Russell recovered quickly from his stumble, thanks to the love of his family.

How Nationwide helped

Raising three puppies comes with many opportunities to court the unexpected. Russell took a pretty nasty spill that could have resulted in major surgery to fix his jaw. Maui was once very ill and required extensive treatment. Fortunately, Silva was prepared—thanks to Nationwide.

“Nationwide has been there for me and for my pets, 100 percent of the time from day one,” Silva says.

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