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Samaritan gives dog second leash on life

January 02, 2000

BrutusBy LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer




A Rottweiler named Brutus has a new lease on life thanks to a good Samaritan.

Brutus was hit by a car last Monday after he got loose while his owners, Ricardo Solomon and Melody Gibson-Solomon of Mulberry Street, were out of town over the Christmas holiday.

His leg was broken in three places and required an $800 operation, which the young couple couldn't afford.

After agonizing for a day, they called Cumberland Valley Veterinary Clinic to reluctantly request the dog, who is not quite 2 years old, be put to sleep.

However, the vet's office had a timely call on another line.

John Harris, the driver who hit Brutus, was calling to check on the dog's condition.

When he discovered the situation, Harris offered to pay half the cost of the surgery. The owners have worked out a payment schedule for the balance.

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"I can't even thank him enough because Brutus is like a child to me," said Gibson-Solomon, 20.

Harris, a dog lover, was wracked with guilt about the accident, even though he knew there was nothing he could have done when Brutus ran out in front of his Subaru Legacy on Franklin Street.

"The fact that I hit a dog just about gagged me. I just felt sick to my stomach," said Harris, 47, who was on his way to work at Tri-State Hypnotherapy in Hagerstown.

Although he waited with the dog until the Washington County Humane Society arrived, Harris said he regrets that he left after they arrived.

He said if he had waited much longer to call about Brutus' condition, it might have been too late to save him. Once he did, he didn't think twice about putting the $400 down payment on a credit card.

Rottweilers may have an intimidating reputation, but Brutus is as gentle as can be, Gibson-Solomon said.

Brutus is wonderful with her 4-month-old daughter, Makayla Gibson. He's so easy-going he shares his bowl with a kitten, she said.

But Brutus likes to wander.

The first time he escaped, he ended up at a local tavern and everyone thought it was funny, Gibson-Solomon said.

They repaired the fence to keep him from escaping, but he must have climbed on top of an air-conditioning unit and jumped over the fence, she said.

Brutus has a doghouse in the yard. Gibson-Solomon's brother was feeding him in her absence and would take him inside while he was there, she said.

Brutus came through the 31/2-hour operation Wednesday with flying colors, said veterinary technician Brenda Rhodes.

He stood up briefly on Thursday and was expected to recover enough to come home today, she said.

Everyone in the veterinarian's office thought Harris was generous for coming through with the cash. Legally, the dog's owners would be responsible to pay Harris for any damage to his car, she said.

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