- Associated Press - Sunday, May 8, 2016

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Senior Airman Myron McIntosh didn’t think his partner would survive the surgery. Molly, his military working dog at Maxwell Air Force Base, needed blood and fluid surgically removed from around her heart and lungs.

The condition can be fatal.

Molly’s story is just one of dozens of life-threatening conditions that the veterinarians at Carriage Hills Animal Hospital and Pet Resort have seen within the last year and have turned into success stories.

Those “miraculous” recoveries were celebrated on May 1 as owners brought their pets and their families to Carriage Hills for the hospital’s eighth annual “Celebration of Life” event.

“We rush all the time, so we wanted to take at least one afternoon to stop, give thanks for owners and pets who persevered through hard times,” said veterinarian Bill Van Hooser. “This day is for them.”

Molly, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois is trained in drug detection for the Air Force and McIntosh has been her handler and partner since he came to Maxwell in February. Since then, the two have become inseparable. But in March, he noticed something was wrong.

“She usually jumps when she sees me and knows it’s time to work, but this time she didn’t,” McIntosh said. “She just acted lazy.”

He thought it was a “case of the Mondays,” but as the day progressed Molly grew worse. She completed her tasks slowly, without much energy and refused to eat. She had a temperature of 105 degrees and the base veterinarian suggested they take her to Carriage Hills on Eastern Boulevard.

Carriage Hills has a 24/7 emergency room which took Molly in that day. Physicians discovered that Molly had pyothorax - or a buildup of fluid and blood in her chest cavity. It’s a condition not many dogs live through. At best, Molly would have to be retired from the military.

McIntosh braced himself for the worst. However, after more than three liters of blood was drained from Molly’s chest, she went from nearly dying, to surviving.

Now, Molly is healthy and continuing to work base security.

“There is no way that this could have been possible without the physicians here at Carriage Hills,” McIntosh said. “I wouldn’t have my partner today. She’s still got my ‘6’ and for that I’m indeed grateful.”

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Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com

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