Service dog recovering after hit-and-run in St. Pete

- Zephyr, a St. Petersburg man's service dog, was recovering Wednesday evening after being hit by a car whose driver took off. 

Zephyr's owner, Paul Kostara said it happened quickly. They were crossing 3rd Street S. when a car ran the light, but seemed to slow down.

"So we kept going, [but] whoever it was gunned it, right as my dog was in front of the car, and plowed him," Kostra recalled. "I chased the driver for, like, two seconds, then I realized my dog is probably dead, so I ran over."

Zephyr suffered numerous broken bones, nearly ending their seven-years together. He got Zephyr to help calm his PTSD - diagnosed after he served as a relief worker in Haiti.

"If I am having anxiety, if I start to feel unsafe, he just provides comfort," he said. "I know everybody says they have the best dog in the world, but Zephyr is, like, proven that he's the best dog in the world."

Zephyr survived, but x-rays show a pelvis broken in three places. The surgery at BluePearl Veterinary Partners cost $8,000, of which charity organization Frankie's Friends will pick up most of the cost. The group is accepting donations on Zephyr's behalf.

"Otherwise, I wouldn't have Zephyr," Kostara said.

Vets placed screws in Zephyr's pelvis, which will enable him to walk again.

Kostora said he wasn't able to get a good enough vehicle description to report it to the police, but hopes someone will see the story and report what they know.

"When they harm an animal, they need to take responsibility," he said.

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