Friday the 13th- Banner’s Lucky Day!

Friday the 13th came with more than one miracle for Larry and his guide dog Banner. Larry and Banner were on their way to a speaking engagement in Nevada. Larry took a cab from his house to Sky Harbor.

Somehow, and that looms as the huge unanswered question, Banner received a gash in his leg while riding in the back seat of the cab. Larry said that Banner yelped and jumped from the floor boards onto the seat shortly before arriving at the airport. This was highly unusual because Banner isextremely well trained, but since Larry cannot see, he didn’t realize thatBanner was injured, so he got his bag and holding Banner’s harness,
proceeded to the airport.

Larry said that Banner just led him along as if nothing was wrong. Then a Phoenix airport security employee stopped Larry to ask if he could help. That is when Larry realized the urgency of the situation.

Later, Troy, a South West customer service agent, who saved Banner’s life, told me that Banner would most certainly have gotten Larry to the air plane and bled to death in the process if someone had not intervened. Butt he ground crew employees of South West Airlines took it upon themselves to help.

Larry telephoned me and said… “I need your help, Banner is hurt.” I knew by the sound of his voice that this was a real emergency. I blasted out of the house and across town to the airport. On the way I telephoned the vet’s office to alert them that we would be coming in…. and carried an on going conversation with Larry and one of the South West Airline employees. When I finally arrived a police car with emergency lights on had cleared a place for me to park…. a walkway had been cleared through the throng of onlookers…. Banner was on the floor with Larry beside him, and eight or ten uniformed people some kneeling some crouching were gathered around Banner, who was in great distress.

Larry was splattered in blood from his waist down, there was blood everywhere and on everyone. Troy lifted Banner and carried him to the car. I didn’t realize it at the time, but Troy’s hand was clenched around Banner’s leg to stop the flow of blood. Banner, Troy and Larry got in the back seat of my car and away we went. When we arrived at the vet’s three young women emerged with a stretcher and rolls of tape. They wrapped the leg right there, so that Troy could release his grip, but Troy, who by then was like a
family member, carried Banner inside, sans stretcher.

Banner underwent surgery almost immediately. He had sliced the major vein to his leg and nicked an artery, and those employees of South West Airlines who left their posts to render aid quite simply kept Banner alive until Dr. Bastek could work her magic. Troy told me many hours later that he was still in shock from the whole experience…. and that he felt a bond with Banner and Larry that he wanted to keep.


11 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    The Bee said,

    We are so happy to know Banner is well on the road to recovery! It sure was his lucky day to cross path with such wonderful heroes and survive such a terrible injury. Get well soon Banner!

  2. 2

    Hi Larry and Banner,

    I was so surprised and in tears after returning to Phoenix from our NSA Conference and hearing about your experience. I am so happy everyone is fine and Banner is healing quickly. Love and Warm Wishes to both of you. Deborah Dubree

  3. 3

    PDG Association of Lions said,

    Larry and Banner,

    The Lions of Arizona are extremely happy to know that you Larry are still getting around safely and that Banner, your sweet and precious Leader Dog is healing and will soon be back on duty. It sure would be nice to see you two at Camp Tatiyee next week for council.
    We all wish you both the very best.

  4. 4

    Ed & Susan Lydon said,

    We are glad to hear that you got home okay and that Banner is mending. Tell him he missed a fun weekend and that we hope to see him soon.
    We all enjoyed your words of wisdom last weekend. You made it the very best we have ever had.
    Susan and I were very happy to have your company to and from the Leadership Conference.
    i am sorry that I don’t run into you very often. Let’s hope that we meet more often in the future.
    I have been reading your book and it is a book everyone should read and take to heart.
    Ed & Susan

  5. 5

    Puppy Raiser Judy Brankel said,

    Dear Banner,

    We all know you Leader Dogs are smart, but you take the cake. Your writing skills are very impressive. And “punny,” too! I’m so sorry to hear of your misfortune, but happy people stepped up to the plate and got you put back together. As for the e-collar–Career Changed Spencer, a golden retriever, says a guy can get a lot of attention scraping the walls with those things.

    Will there be hydro-therapy in that beautiful pool in your future? Surely you deserve the best and it seems you’re getting it. I’m wondering if you’re the same “Banner” who was raised by a delightful family in Midland, Michigan. If so, I remember you as a puppy and you’ve grown to be a very handsome fellow.

    It is wonderful that your story has a happy ending. Thanks for sharing your “tail.”

    Judy Brankel
    Michigan Puppy Raiser

  6. 6

    Rick Myers said,

    Banner, you beautiful dog, you look mighty fine poolside. I bet that poolside photo has all the female dogs panting!!!! It is about time, don’t you think, that Larry pays back some of your hard work for him? Were I in your position (and I asked my companion, Murphy the Wonder Dog, for his opinion) I think I would demand daily doggy massage sessions from Larry. It will help the recovery process and be good for Larry to think he has a job every day!

    See you “on the road” soon. Marsha sends her love.


  7. 7

    bannerboy said,

    To The Bee and Deborah,
    Thank you for the well wishes. I’m one lucky dog to have found so many heroes and just when I needed them!
    Luv, Banner

  8. 8

    bannerboy said,

    Dear JW,
    Camp Tatiyee sounds terrific. But… Have you seen the big ring thing they put around my neck? I don’t even fit through the door anymore!!!! Thanks for the well wishes. And maybe I’ll make it to Camp Tatiyee next year.

  9. 9

    bannerboy said,

    Dear Ed and Susan,
    You missed the best part of the team…ME!!! Good to know you liked the book. It took me forever to get him to write it.

  10. 10

    bannerboy said,

    Dear Judy,
    Michigan? Is that where they have rain and green grass and trees? I’ve been stuck down here in the desert with rocks and cactus for so long that my puppyhood is a blur. Tell Spencer I’ll try that wall scraping thing. So far I’ve been trying to be graceful to no avail. I can hardly wait to get back to jetting around the country with the tall guy. He’s quite a jokster… tells stories about me, tags along everywhere I go. It’s an exciting life. Thanks for raising puppies like me. Much love, Banner

  11. 11

    bannerboy said,

    Dear Rick and Marsha,
    Doggie massage, what an idea! Maybe I could get the tall guy to give me a pedicure too. Hope the weather is nice in Nebraska. It’s hot here…. sidewalks and all.
    Your Friend, Banner

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