A family from Utah recently got the surprise of a lifetime when they randomly discovered that their dead pet boxer was very much alive.
Earlier this year, the Coates family made the difficult decision to have their ill dog, Zoey, euthanized at the vet after a large mass was discovered on her side and she started having seizures, KVTB . Heartbroken, her owner, Tawny Coates, who didn't think Zoey would get better, decided to have her euthanized, and she asked her father to take the dog to the vet's office for the procedure. The Coateses believed she was dead, until six months later, when Tawny was shocked to come across a photo of her dog on a boxer rescue group's .
"I see the Boxer Town rescue page and I'm like, 'That looks like my dog,'" Coates told KVTB. "Then I thought, 'I'm crazy,' but I click on it anyway and zoom in and say, 'No, that's my dog!'"
At first, it seemed unreal to Tawny, since she had received documents from the veterinarian confirming Zoey's death. The documents included a $215 receipt for euthanasia, cremation, and the dog's medical record, plus a sympathy card from the staff at the clinic.
"It breaks my heart because I don't understand why somebody would do this to my family," Tawny added.
Dr. Mary Smart, who was the vet that saw Zoey at the , shared her side of the story with KVTB. She said she spoke with Tawny's father, Larry, when he came in and explained that Zoey didn't have to be euthanized. But, according to Dr. Smart, Larry insisted the dog be put to sleep. For their part, the Coates family is claiming that this conversation between Dr. Smart and Larry is a "complete falsehood."
"I screwed up," Dr. Smart told KVTB. "I should have called the family. Had I any inkling that they might at all be interested in having the dog back, I would have for sure called. But after my conversation with Mr. Coates, it just seemed very obvious to me that they didn't want the dog."
Instead, Dr. Smart decided to take Zoey to a rescue group without ing the family. She used the money given for the pet boxer's cremation to surgically remove the tumor on Zoey's back. A picture of Zoey in the exam room appeared on the rescue group's Facebook page later that day.
"If I had followed procedure, if I had followed protocol, if I had done what Mr. Coates asked me, they wouldn't have their dog," the vet added. "Their dog would have been euthanized and this family would be without their dog."
The Coates family is now happy to have Zoey back in their household. Utah's Veterinary Board told KVTB that they might look into Dr. Smart's case, but there are no official complaints filed against her at the moment.