My DH and I were pulling out of our driveway last night, to go to my sister's house for the family Christmas dinner (she lives about an hour or so away), when my DH said, "Look at that dog!" I looked up and saw a big furry dog limping down the road in front of our house, dragging about 10 feet of chain behind him. Of course we stopped and my husband got out to check the dog. It tried to keep on limping along but then stopped and turned back towards us. My husband coaxed it to him and we looked it over, No obvious signs of injury but its coat was matted and dirty and it was holding its left hind leg up so the foot didn't touch the ground. I said, "we have to do something, we can't just leave it here!" and ran back into the house to get the phone book to look up emergency vets in our area (ended up just tearing the vet listings out of the Yellow Book and running back outside). The closest emergency hospital was roughly 50 miles away, more or less on the way to my sister's house. I called them, described the situation, got directions, and my DH picked the dog up, put it in my car, and we headed out. The poor dog was so quiet and good! It's kind of scary trying to help an injured animal, especially a big dog, but this fella didn't make one sound of protest or aggression at all. So we got to the vet (in the meantime I called my sis to tell her we'd be late) and they were very nice, saw us pretty quickly and told us up front what they planned and what it would cost (not that we cared about that, we just wanted to help the dog). The dog seemed healthy by physical exam except that he is terribly emaciated and unkempt. The bad news is that the xray of the affected leg revealed an old (at least two months) injury, most likely a pelvis fracture, which had not healed properly. The prescribed treatment for this type of fracture is "crate rest", which would be like strict bedrest for humans, but apparently this dog did not receive any care. Now his leg is more or less permanently deformed with the muscles "frozen" or contracted so that he is unable to straighten his leg. Lucklily he is able to keep his foot sufficiently off the ground to prevent injury to it, and my DH says he saw the dog bear enough weight on the foot to pivot its body around. Anyway, we were only two and a half hours late to my sister's house but when we walked in the door everyone clapped and cheered which felt good! Of course we have taken the dog in and we hope to give him a permanent home. He had a collar on and a rabies tag from 2005 with the phone number of the vet's office that administered the shot so on Tues. we'll call and make an effort to locate the "rightful" owner---though if you could see how neglected this poor animal is you would agree with me that that person, whoever he or she is, has abdicated his/her rights this animal entirely. I guess it's possible that the dog is just lost and someone is frantically looking for it in which case we will of course do the right thing, sad though we will be. The dog appears to have quite a bit of chow in him as well as possibly some lab. I'm hoping to be able to take him to my regular vet on Tues. and get a more thorough checkup (heartworm and parasite check, vaccines, etc) and get him groomed!! You can tell he will have a gorgeous coat when he's cleaned up. Anyway...that's my Christmas miracle story!