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Injured dog who disappeared in Highland Park shooting reunites with family
Woman fleeing the horrifying scene valiantly saves lost Yorkshire terrier and her family takes her to receive veterinary care
During the tragic Fourth of July Parade shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, this year the open fire set the crowd into hysteria as they fled the scene. Among those petrified was a 6.5-pound Yorkshire terrier named Lola.
According to the Chicago Sun Times,1 simultaneously Katie Gillman, accompanied by her husband Max and 4.5- and 16-month-old daughters in a double stroller ran down Second Street in Highland Park after the shooting started at the parade. Right before Walnut Street, Katie turned back and witnessed a swarm of people running for their lives. “And leading the pack was this little dog,” Katie said.1
Heroically, Katie ran back and scooped up the horrified dog separated from its family "football style" under one arm.1 Katie caught up with her family and noticed the dog bleeding from her right eye.
On a day that caused so much disaster and heartbreak, the family went on a mission to assist Lola. When they arrived home, Max wrapped the Yorkshire terrier in a bath towel and then rushed her to the BluePearl Pet Hospital in Northfield, Illinois. Todd Horowitz, DVM, quickly gave her an IV and saw she hadn’t been shot or injured from shrapnel, though she did suffer significant trauma to her right cornea and eyelid.1
“She was really scared, but you could tell she was a nice dog. She was used to people,” Horowitz said, of Lola.1 Though the wound was due to unknown causes, Horowitz predicted that someone running from the gunman may have incidentally kicked the dog.
As Lola received treatment, Max texted his neighbor Megan O’Meara, who posted a photo of the injured pet on Nextdoor.com asking if anyone knew the dog’s owner. Around the same time, a woman posted a message in the group in search of her sister’s Yorkshire terrier who went missing amid the turmoil.
The dog’s owner Reina Conner and her family participated in the Highland Park’s kiddie parade earlier that morning along with her 4-year-old grand-niece. Conner was already at home by the time shots were fired, so her relatives still there picked up the young girl and ran to an adjacent pancake restaurant for safety.
“Everybody kind of ran in different directions,” Conner described. “It was horrific what they went through.”
When Conner’s family caught word of O’Meara’s post, an aunt went to visit Lola at BluePearl, and the dog was cleared to return home after 6 hours. “Our pets are family & during this difficult time we are lucky to have Lola back with us. Wishing all of you [love] & healing,” one of Conner’s relatives wrote in a post appreciating all who helped. Conner plans to visit an animal eye specialist soon and hopes that the dog can regain vision in the affected eye.1
The Gillmans noted that their oldest daughter can’t comprehend what occurred that day except for the fact that there was noise, people running, and a tiny dog who was lost and hurt.
“She talks about the ‘firecrackers’ at the parade that day, but she also talks about Lola,” Max said. “Getting the dog back with its family, that’s her memory of the day. That’s our silver lining.”1
Zimmerman S. On Highland Park’s day of horror, a small act of kindness for a little dog hurt in the chaos. Chicago Sun Times. Updated July 15, 2022. Accessed July 18, 2022. https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/7/15/23220230/highland-park-parade-mass-shooting-dog-lola-bluepearl-katie-gillman-max-todd-horowitz