Handler of popular fire dog Scrappy speaks of canine’s terrifying accident while chasing a ball

An ex-ray of Scrappy's leg after surgery.

An ex-ray of Scrappy’s leg after surgery.

The handler of popular fire dog has spoken of the moment the canine broke his leg in a terrifying accident while chasing a ball.

Black cocker spaniel Scrappy fractured his front leg near the elbow joint when he got his paw stuck in a hole on Tuesday.

Scrappy with his human, fire investigations manager Lee Aspery.

Scrappy with his human, fire investigations manager Lee Aspery.

The County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service biocarbon detection dog, screamed out in pain and was rushed to the vets.

He was later operated on in a four-hour procedure, with screws put in place, along with a metal plate to stabilise his elbow joint.

Scrappy, who is based at the fire headquarters in Belmont, Durham, will be out of action for a while, but is predicted to make a full recovery and be back investigating fires by Christmas.

Fire investigation manager Lee Aspery, who lives with five-and-a-half-year-old Scrappy in North Yorkshire, said: “We were at Teesside University doing a presentation to the forensic investigations students.

Scrappy the fire dog.

Scrappy the fire dog.

“It’s quite a normal thing for us to do.

“When we had finished the demo, Scrappy was having a bit of a laugh with some of the students tossing a ball for him on the grass.

“He ran off and suddenly his front left leg went into a hole. He fell flat on the ground.

“He screamed his head off and I really felt for him, but I felt for the students as well.

Scrappy the fire dog.

Scrappy the fire dog.

“They were having a bit of a play after his demo, it wasn’t dangerous or anything, just on grass. He was still wearing his protective gear, his harness and safety boots.

“It was a group of 30 students and they were visibly shaken by the whole experience.

“I have been getting lots of messages and they are doing a whip-round for a present for Scrappy.”

Lee, 49, rushed Scrappy to his regular vet Kevin Walton at Vets4Pets in Durham.

Scrappy the fire dog.

Scrappy the fire dog.

There, he was checked over and x-rayed, before being transferred to emergency veterinary hospital Wear Referrals in Bradbury.

The following day, surgeons performed a four-hour operation, putting a large screw through Scrappy’s elbow joint, to hold the two parts together.

They also added a metal plate above the joint, extending upwards into the bone, to stabilise the fracture.

The canine patient was expected to be released home on Friday, once he’s been weaned off his strong pain medication.

Lee said: “He is doing really well, fantastic. They are keeping him in an extra day, because he is on quite strong painkillers.

“He has already been up trying to walk on his broken leg, which is typical of him.”

Scrappy the fire dog.

Scrappy the fire dog.

Lee has been told that the repair was a success, but Scrappy faces four weeks’ of bed rest – something Lee says is not going to be easy for an active spaniel.

He will then start hydrotherapy to build his strength back up.

“Scrappy will be back doing his normal searches in a couple of months’ time.”

You can follow the progress of Scrappy’s recovery on his facebook page: www.facebook.com/Firedog.Scrappy

Fire Investigation Manager Lee Aspery with Scrappy the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Hydrocarbon Detection Dog.

Fire Investigation Manager Lee Aspery with Scrappy the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Hydrocarbon Detection Dog.

Scrappy the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Hydrocarbon Detection Dog.

Scrappy the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Hydrocarbon Detection Dog.

Scrappy the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Hydrocarbon Detection Dog.

Scrappy the Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service Hydrocarbon Detection Dog.

Fire Investigation Manager Lee Aspery with his dog Scrappy at the scene of a house fire on South View, Murton.

Fire Investigation Manager Lee Aspery with his dog Scrappy at the scene of a house fire on South View, Murton.

The Countess of Wessex meets the Durham Fire Service fire investigation dog Scrappy and handler Lee Aspery during her visit to the new Durham Fire Brigade HQ at Belmont, Durham

The Countess of Wessex meets the Durham Fire Service fire investigation dog Scrappy and handler Lee Aspery during her visit to the new Durham Fire Brigade HQ at Belmont, Durham