FARMINGTON — An unlikely patient walked into the emergency room at San Juan Regional Medical Center on Saturday night.
Hospital staff and patients were surprised when the automatic doors opened and a dog with blood on its nose and paw and a puncture hole in its rear leg walked inside.
"The irony of the situation is the dog wasn't doing well," said Robin Loev, animal control officer and park ranger. "He was drooling and appeared to be sick."
Loev responded to the emergency room at about 9:15 p.m. and found people gathered around the animal.
"The patients were giving him a cup of water when I showed up," Loev said.
The animal, a German Shepherd mix about 7 to 8 years old, did not require veterinary care.
Loev couldn't find the source of the blood and it didn't appear the dog was hit by a car. He suspects the puncture wound is from another dog bite, but it wasn't significant enough to call the veterinarian.
Loev took the dog to the Farmington Animal Shelter, where it was vaccinated and given water and a warm blanket.
"He's doing fine," said Patrick Jake, an employee at the shelter. "Everything was minor. He didn't really need immediate attention."
Loev is thankful the dog was kept inside the emergency room until he arrived.
Often people chase animals back into the street, scaring them and making it harder for animal control officers to catch them, Loev said.
Shelter officials are uncertain if someone owns the dog, which is neutered and well-behaved.
"He seems very intelligent, very smart and calm and looking like he needed help," Loev said. "I guess he went to the right place."
Shelter officials often pick up animals that wander into the hospital.
"Every so many months, we get dogs walking into the emergency room because of the automatic doors," Biesecker said.
This situation was unusual because the dog was injured, Biesecker said.
The animal did not have tags but was wearing a green collar. It will be available for adoption Wednesday unless someone claims him.
"Some of these situations that come up make you wonder just how intelligent these animals are," Loev said.