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Saving Petey

Dr. Johnson nuzzles Petey, her beloved chihuahua rescue and office greeter!
Dr. Johnson nuzzles Petey, her beloved chihuahua rescue and office greeter!

Dr. Arhonda C. Johnson is the chief veterinarian at The Ark Animal Hospital in Midtown Atlanta. Her love and dedication to animals is obvious when you first meet her. And it is very apparent in the story of how she came to save the life of Petey, her wonderful chihuahua, who greets pet parents at the Ark's office. It's a gripping story and emphasizes the importance of getting pets micro-chipped. Here it is.

The story begins in 2004 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, where I had my
first real job as a vet. Six months later, an elderly lady drove up in an old Ford.

In her hands was a little chihuahua named Dreama. The lady was distraught and said she only "tapped her." I explained that her 2-ton car was no match for a 5 lb dog.

I took Dreama and fixed her leg (my first pinning) and nursed her back to health. A local rescue found her a home. I missed her terribly, though. Later, the rescue called with an "owner surrender" chihuahua. It was Petey!

He was one and a half years old and he was not neutered. He was extra large, had breed papers, a carrier, and toys. I took him in. The first day he decided to pee on my marble and white oak table, and then tried humping on me while I was on the floor.

I neutered him the very next day. We've been buddies ever since.

Petey Runs Away!

A year or so later, we moved to Fairburn, Georgia. One day in the winter of
'07 or '08, while I was at work, Petey was at home with my boyfriend at the time. Unfortunately his form of punishment was hitting. Because of that Petey ran away!

I was not told for hours! After a week that included some snow, there was no sign of him. It was then that I realized Petey's microchip had the Florida contact information to the rescue organization I had adopted him from.

When I checked in with them, it turned out someone had been trying to locate the owner. That was a happy but brief moment!

The Reunion

I tracked down Petey and it turned out he was at a vet hospital near "the Big Chicken" in Marietta. He had been hit by a car and was in shock with a dislocated hip, a torn ACL and a broken toe.

I naturally took him to my practice to give him the best care and connect him with vets who could perform the surgery he needed as I felt uncomfortable operating on my own dog. Thankfully his recovery went smoothly. Friends and clients from the Ark showered him with visits, toys and cards.

Initially I noticed a change in his temperament for six to nine months. He was guarded and skittish. But with lots of love, affection and attention he soon reverted back to the friendly Petey that welcomes Ark visitors and pets in the front office that people are familiar with today.