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Couldn’t Keep Ollie Down: German shepherd recovers from hit-and-run; fundraiser to be held in Jim Thorpe

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    She still has some rehabilitation work ahead of her, but Ollie is enjoying being back with some of her four-legged friends, including a miniature horse named Dodge. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published May 31. 2019 12:13PM


The day after Christmas, a female German shepherd named Ollie chased a cat out onto Behrens Road near Jim Thorpe. Focused on the cat, Ollie ran into the side of a passing vehicle and was injured.

Her owner, Racheal Lynn DeRosa, her boyfriend Brian Potance and Scott Lignore — Ollie had been chasing a cat from Lignore’s barn — ran to help Ollie. The driver had stopped and helped. Potance ran up Lignore’s driveway to get his vehicle to take Ollie to a veterinarian.

Ollie lay on her side in the road, with the three people standing around her. As another car approached, the people waved, yelled, jumped up and down — and finally had to jump out of the way as the car ran over the injured dog. That driver fled the scene.

DeRosa and Potance got Ollie to Valley Central Veterinary Referral and Emergency in Whitehall. The veterinarians there told them Ollie had three broken legs and seven fractured ribs. She received a blood transfusion and surgeries to stabilize her broken legs — first the femur of a rear leg, then the two front legs the following day.

One of those breaks — the elbow of a front leg — proved especially troublesome and required a second surgery. After the initial treatment at Valley Central, Ollie was treated at the University of Pennsylvania, New Bolton Center.

“Dr. Jen Huck, an orthopedic specialist, has been absolutely amazing,” DeRosa said. “When I was feeling bad, she kept telling me that it was going to get better — she even kept in touch with me when she was on vacation.”

DeRosa said that the University of Pennsylvania veterinary students at the New Bolton Center fell in love with Ollie, and Ollie loved them right back. After they had graduated, the students came to the Center to see Ollie when she had a checkup and left messages such as “I’ll never forget you Ollie.”

“She’s a miracle dog, not your typical dog, or she never would have made it this far,” DeRosa said. “She’s putting weight on all four legs and has good range of motion, getting better every day.”

Another bundle of fur and energy was a key part of Ollie’s recovery. Just a month or two after the accident, DeRosa decided to get a male German shepherd pup, now named Odin. Some said having a puppy around might prove too much for Ollie, but DeRosa knew her dog.

“She is playing with him and loves playing tug with him,” she said. “When I got Odin, people said, what, are you crazy? But I know Ollie.”

Ollie’s medical bills are around $52,000. Using monies raised via Facebook under Saving Ollie, and using her own money, De­Rosa has reduced the debt to about $16,000. DeRosa still wishes the second driver would come forward, which would be a huge help since that driver’s insurance company could be responsible for Ollie’s medical bills.

The Union Publick House, Jim Thorpe, is having a fundraiser for Ollie from 4 to 9 p.m. June 4. Union Publick House owner Lynn McMenemon has chosen Ollie for the “tithing,” which means that 10% of the restaurant’s total sales will be donated for Ollie’s medical bills.

“I’m humbled and thankful by the people who have donated,” DeRosa said. “And I’m really proud of Ollie.”


Sorry about Ollie.

This article says "That driver fled the scene." But the previous article says "
The driver of the second vehicle, stopped, but left when the scene when people confronted her." Bad either way but it paints two different pictures.

With that many face to face witnesses, I surprised you could not get a description of the girl and her car. Since Behren's is "loop" road, there is only so many people that use it. Someone should have called the police. They could have tracked her down no problem. They could also triangelate off the many cell phone towers around, not to mention many people have security cameras that pick up Behrens Road. This person could have been easily identified IF someone would have called the PSP.

May I ask why someone did not call? It was a hit and run afterall.

The owner couldn't because she was in shock, but other could have. I'm glad Ollie is doing better, but I bet most people that read the articles have the same basic question.

The woman did stop, when she realized or thought she killed my dog she took off like the coward she is! I have been to the SP, as well all surrounding houses to see if anyone had cameras. PLEASE never assume you know the story WITHOUT verifying facts FIRST!
The woman could’ve killed me alone with the two others that night, I was thrown into a ditch after which I watched her brutally run over and drag my service dog over 70 feet... and she took off? Didn’t come back to the barn? She could’ve at the very least left a note in the mailbox, sent someone else to check on us if she didn’t have the nerve to face us herself.
I am personally one of the STRONGEST people you’ll ever meet, however what this woman did that night has scared me for life. It was unbelievable what she did! My dog suffered for months, my bank account has been drained... she’s heartless... she has to look in the mirror, how? I have no idea, she effected 4 humans that night, not to mention the two little girls who saw the entire thing take place.
If there were a way I could hold this woman accountable believe me I would!
OK thanks. I was just curious and asking as obviously the articles do not exactly match nor provide the full context. I do feel sorry for your dog and the trauma everyone went through especially you. I was just suggesting that this was a law enforcement issue and she should be punished, but you contacted the SP. Good on you. They have a computer system (I'm told - could be wrong) that if you input the vitals (female, age 20 -30... type/year of car.. and the incident location,.... with a little luck, they SHOULD have been able to narrow the canidates down to one or two gals in a few minutes. People are getting more scattered brained, making life dangerous for us. That she didn't slow down and stop as she approached the scene simply blows my mind. Wow.

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