Dog hit by car gets expert care at Ohio State and joins loving family

Reba the dog

Larry Ballengee, a semi-truck driver, never expected to come home from a trip with a new best friend. 

Larry was in Oklahoma delivering a load when he witnessed two dogs on the highway run in front of a car and sadly, get hit. One dog did not make it while the other dog did. The driver who hit the two dogs kept driving, but Larry, a devoted dog owner, knew he had to stop to help. He put the surviving dog, a puppy who he named Reba, in the bunk of his semi. 

He walked around to see if anyone was the owner of the poor dog. Larry found the owner, who said they were not willing to help Reba. Larry took things into his own hands.

 “I promised her I’d get her the help she needed,” said Larry. “I decided to take her and give her a good home.”

Larry found an emergency veterinarian in Oklahoma who performed pelvic x-rays and confirmed Reba had suffered a broken hip and pelvis.

 Larry and Christina with Reba the dog
“Her injuries were very severe. It was difficult to find a vet who could do such an extensive surgery,” Larry said. “I was concerned about not knowing what was wrong with her.”

The veterinarian gave Larry some pain medications for Reba and recommended that The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center would have the capabilities to perform the complicated surgery Reba needed. So, Larry headed to Ohio State as fast as he could. 

When they arrived at the Veterinary Medical Center, Reba was evaluated by a team of veterinarians, veterinary specialists, fourth-year veterinary students and technicians. It was determined that Reba had suffered multiple pelvic factures. She underwent surgery the next day to repair the fractures. 

"Reba's pelvic and femur fractures were quite extensive. On the left side she had suffered multiple pelvic fractures, including one that involved the hip joint itself. On the right limb, she suffered two fractures to her femur (thigh bone), one of which involved a growth plate," said Morgan Biggo, the Small Animal Surgery Resident who operated on Reba. "In true puppy fashion, Reba was resilient and had begun to use her left hind leg, but the fractures of the right femur resulted in her being reluctant to use that limb at all." 

"The surgery required to repair the right femur was extremely challenging. The femur was essentially broken into three pieces of bone. Two of those pieces had started to heal together inappropriately which resulted in the need to break down this area of healing to recreate the bone's structure. This is something that the Ohio State surgery team found challenging, despite our high fracture case load and exposure," said Dr. Biggo. 

Christina, Larry’s wife, admits she is “a sucker for animals and has no idea how people can be so cruel.” 
“We are so appreciative for all your help to give our little girl the life she deserves,” said Christina to the team at Ohio State. 
Reba stayed at the Veterinary Medical Center for a few days post-surgery. Because of the expert care she received, she is expected to have a full and healthy life.
"Reba was such a resilient puppy! Despite everything she had been through, she was always wagging her tail and looking for love," said Dr. Biggo. "Additionally, the love and devotion her new owners showed her was so heartwarming. They could have easily left her on the side of the road and saved themselves the stress and commitment that came with taking her in. Reba's case was one of those cases that helps me remind me why I got into this field: the opportunity to help animals and the owners who would do anything for them. 
At a recent post-op check-up appointment, Reba was bouncing around the exam room like a normal puppy. 

“She’s such a great puppy! She’s teething right now and so restless,” Christina said. “She’s got a lot of energy.” 

reba in exam room

Dr. Nina Kieves, Associate Professor of Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery and the faculty surgeon for Reba, said, "We recently saw Reba back for a recheck exam and she is thriving! She is using both her operated limb very well and the fractures on her other limb have also fully healed," she said. "We expect her to continue to improve and enjoy her forever home with Larry and Christina who have opened their hearts and home to her. Reba is a lucky girl, and we were honored to help her get back to running around and enjoying life."

Reba gets along with the family’s other four dogs at home. The entire family watches TV together, laying on the couch, all the dogs sleeping together. 

Larry hopes that she becomes his new traveling partner in his semi-truck. 


You can help dogs, like Reba, by making a gift to the Good Samaritan Fund. Your gift will be used to provide the best veterinary care to the pets with the highest need. Let's come together to make sure every pet has a chance to be healthy and happy.

Give to Good Samaritan Fund