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Lucky dog survives 3rd near death experience, family needs help | News

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Lucky dog survives 3rd near death experience, family needs help
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VIENNA, Va. (WUSA9) -- 5-year-old yellow Labrador "Espen" is named after the sports channel. Appropriately, he runs and jumps like an athlete.

He also gets himself in a heap of trouble sometimes.

"He was hit by a car and had to have a plate and 10 pins placed in his leg," Stacey Muscarella, his owner, said.

Then there was the time he ate a corncob and required emergency surgery. But this week, he really outdid himself.

He was running around the yard when somehow, someway, he managed to impale himself with a 5-foot metal rod.  Muscarella and Espen's dad Rick were away, so the dog sitter helped get him to the vet.

Muscarella couldn't believe this was happening. 

Medical resident John Kiefer is one of the many doctors at Hope Advanced Veterinary Center in Vienna who helped Espen survive. Surgery to remove the rebar cost about $10,000.

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Photos of Espen

Muscarella says that's money she and her boyfriend Rick Brown, Espen's dad, don't have.

"With Espen's previous incidents, we've already paid $15,000 out of pocket for him," Muscarella said.  

Doctors made the quick thinking decision to perform the surgery and since Muscarella and Brown weren't able to come up with the funds, doctors are asking for donations. Money has already started streaming in. The couple says they're also happy Espen is doing okay.

"We love him more than words can express how much we love this dog," Muscarella said.  

Kiefer says he's special to the veterinary center.

"We love him, but this should be the last time. This is actually his third strike. I think he's a very, very lucky dog!

At this hour, Espen is recovering but that metal pole punctured his lung, diaphragm and nicked his liver. 

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