RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — More than $10,000 has been raised for life-saving surgery for a dog that was hit by a car in Raleigh last week — and a woman who just happened to be driving by the incident is largely to thank.
Kunal Chablani and his 8-year-old Sheltie “Tony” were walking across a crosswalk at the intersection of Saint Mary’s Street and Hillsborough Street when a car hit them.
Chablani fell to the ground after he was hit and realized he only suffered minor injuries, but when he looked up he saw the car run over Tony’s back legs. Chablani says Tony started shrieking in pain.
“My main concern was Tony,” said Chablani, of Raleigh. “He can’t defend himself and he doesn’t understand what’s going on. I just wanted to be sure he remained as calm as possible and let him know that I was there for him.”
It was a moment that made Francine Cronin, a complete stranger, pull over and stop to help while she was on her way to work.
“Kunal was bleeding and was obviously injured himself, but I just saw him crawling his way to his dog as I was driving past and I literally burst into tears,” said Cronin, who also lives in Raleigh.
As first responders were taking Chablani to the hospital, Cronin told him she’d take care of Tony and take care of any medical costs. She took him to the NC State Veterinary Emergency Room where they said Tony needed life-saving surgery that would cost $10,000.
“To have to tell Kunal a week before Christmas that he’s not going to have his best furry friend with him….that would have been a very hard and sad thing to do,” said Cronin.
She asked the community for some help and she was able to raise the $10,000 on GoFundMe in just a few days. About $5,000 of the donations came from members of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, a church near where the crash happened.
“It’s just amazing how much Francine has been able to do in such a short period of time. I mentally would not have been able to do any of that myself,” said Chablani. “And to everyone who has given, thank you so much. The support has been overwhelming.”
As of Sunday night, 268 people donated $10,215 to Tony’s medical fund. Any money that is raised that is not used for Tony’s surgery and his post-surgery costs will be donated to a fund at the NC State Veterinary Medical School that helps pet owners in similar situations.
“I just want to thank everyone who has had the Christmas spirit and for being generous, compassionate and kind,” said Cronin.
Police charged the driver in the crash with failing to yield the right of way.