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Lucky dog on mend after her rescue

How Gretel was injured still mystery

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    Gretel, a boxer mix, is shown with Melissa Hagemann, office manager at the Maumee Bay Veterinary Hospital in Oregon, Ohio.

    <The Blade/Tanya Irwin
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Gretel, a boxer mix, is shown with Melissa Hagemann, office manager at the Maumee Bay Veterinary Hospital in Oregon, Ohio.

The Blade/Tanya Irwin
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Gretel is one lucky dog. She's the canine that's on the mend after a human threw her — or she fell — from a Toledo freeway overpass.

No one actually saw what happened. X-rays of the dog, however, showed extensive leg injuries that looked similar to a dog that had fallen from a second-story window, said Melissa Hagemann, office and personnel manager at Maumee Bay Veterinary Hospital in Oregon.

Worst-case scenario is that someone threw her from the overpass, Mrs. Hagemann said.

"It's too bad she can't just tell us what happened," she said.

Maumee Bay's Dr. Kevin Soncrant gave a name to and has been caring for Gretel, a "pit bull"/boxer mix estimated at 4-6 years old.

Beside the luck of surviving the incident, she's also fortunate that Julie Cox of Oregon stopped to retrieve her off the side of I-280 between Starr Avenue and Front Street.

The good Samaritan first spotted her Monday lying on the side of the road when she was taking her son to school.

Mrs. Cox saw two women standing with the dog and assumed the dog must have been hit by a car and had died.

When the dog and the women were still there on her return trip, she stopped to see if they needed help.

"They said that she had actually been in the middle of the road hobbling around on three legs and they stopped to get her to the side of the road," Mrs. Cox said. "They helped me get her into my car and I took her to my vet."

Gretel was found on the northbound I-280 exit ramp to Front Street — the former I-280 mainline before the Veterans' Glass City Skyway was built overhead — near a railroad overpass that goes under the Skyway but over the exit and its companion entrance to southbound I-280.

The overpass has chain-link fence six to eight feet high on both sides above the ramps that would make it difficult for anyone to heave an animal, or any other heavy object, over the side.

But wing walls next to overpass abutments on either edge of the roadway are unguarded, with about a two-story drop from atop them.

The overpass is a few hundred yards away from a bridge over South Ravine Parkway, along the same track where Dorothy Minggia, 42, was killed in 2004 when a steel plate was dropped through her car's windshield.

That incident, for which two people were convicted of vandalism charges while a third was cleared at a jury trial, prompted the installation of fences on several railroad overpasses in the area.

John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society, said Thursday that the agency is investigating the incident involving Gretel.

But Mr. Dinon said their work is compounded by the fact there are no known witnesses.

Mrs. Cox is unemployed and can't afford to pay for Gretel's $1,400 surgery, so she feared the dog she rescued would have to be put down.

But Dr. Soncrant and area KeyBanks are taking donations for the leg surgery that's scheduled to be performed Friday at West Suburban Animal Hospital by Dr. Gary Thompson.

Besides the surgery, any additional funds collected will go to pay for her spay and other vet work to prepare her for adoption, Mrs. Hagemann said.

"We've already gotten calls from a lot of people interested in adopting her after she's fully recovered," Mrs. Hagemann said. "She has a really good temperament and is going to make someone a great pet."

Staff writer David Patch contributed to this report.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066.

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