Dog's surgery goes on through Christchurch earthquake

Last updated 10:49 09/03/2011
NATASHA MARTIN/The Timaru Herald
LUCKY DOG: Kirsten Wylie and nurse Amber Walker look after Jonah the dachshund. Jonah was having surgery when the quake hit.

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Kirsten Wylie was in the middle of a delicate operation to remove a cancerous tumour from a small dog when the earthquake struck.

It was all in a day's work for the Christchurch vet who has survived a volcanic eruption, several earthquakes and has a bag of survival stories after caring for snow-sled dogs in Alaska.

Wylie refused to leave Jonah, an eight-year-old dachshund, in the Linwood surgery, completing the 45-minute procedure to remove a thyroid carcinoma by the light of a torch, along with nurse Amber Walker.

Nor did she flinch when she had to blow air into a tube to keep the dog breathing until an oxygen bottle could be connected manually.

Wylie said the "fiddly" operation had been made more difficult by the big jolt, but she never thought of leaving Jonah.

"From where I was standing, I could look out the window and see the fence falling down," she said.

However, the dog "was blissfully unaware of the earthquake".

Wylie was yesterday reunited with a recovering Jonah.

Her job had taken her to Alaska to care for sled dogs in temperatures below 40 degrees Celsius and to White Island, off the Bay of Plenty, where her clothes began to melt during a volcanic eruption.

Power and water connections have been restored at her Total Vet Services practice.

Most city veterinary clinics are now open.

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