What started as a routine visit to VCA Westboro Animal Hospital turned into every pet owner’s worst nightmare when a client’s dog ran into traffic on the busy highway in front of the hospital. Luckily for the patient, hospital manager Katy Cassano didn’t hesitate to assist, stopping traffic to help the dog return safely to their owner. For her brave actions, Katy is being hailed a hero by her colleagues.

For the Love of Animals

Katy’s career in veterinary medicine began over 10 years ago as a veterinary assistant.

“I’ve always enjoyed connecting with animals and their owners,” says Katy, who held various positions of increasing responsibility within and outside of VCA before being promoted to hospital manager at VCA Westboro this past fall.

It was a typically busy day for Katy in her new position on September 27 of last year when she heard a commotion in the lobby.

“I heard someone say, ‘Oh my God, he’s loose!’” remembers Katy.

The dog backed out of their collar during handoff from client to VCA Associate at the entrance, running straight into Route 9, a multiple lane, divided highway in front of the hospital.

Katy says what happened next was done without much thought, as if instinct had completely taken over. She quickly grabbed a slip-on leash and ran after the patient. Katy then stopped cars while the dog continued to run down the highway against traffic. When a good Samaritan got out of their car to try to help, the dog turned around, thankfully running back to their owner. Katy helped get the dog leashed and safely into the clinic.
“Seeing our patient running into traffic brought up so many feelings...I just knew that I couldn’t let the dog get hit.”

Courage from Trauma

Years ago, Katy experienced her own close call when her dog was hit by a car – right in front of her. Thankfully, her dog survived the accident.

“Seeing our patient running into traffic brought up so many feelings from that day,” says Katy through tears. “I just knew that I couldn’t let the dog get hit.”

Not only was Katy successful in keeping the dog from getting hit, she was also able calm the client once they were safely back inside the hospital. The client and her dog were able to complete the routine check that day, avoiding an additional trip.

Katy’s colleagues weren’t surprised by her actions, especially not Dan Gonyea, who is currently regional operations support for VCA. He met Katy while he was hospital manager at VCA Westboro and was recruiting an office manager.

“I wasn’t at all surprised to hear that Katy, without hesitation, courageously came to the dog’s rescue,” says Dan. “To Katy, it isn’t a heroic action, it’s a non-negotiable in being the loving and caring person she is.”

Dan adds that this type of compassion is evident in how she approaches her everyday work, and her example is part of what makes VCA Westboro a place where all team members deliver exceptional experiences with genuine warmth and friendliness.

Katy is truly a passionate, caring, and giving person,” says Dan. “From her unwavering compassion with patients and clients, to her innate strong relationship building with our partners, to her dedicated support of our associates, Katy has exceeded my expectations and enriched the hospital’s culture. I am honored to know and to work with Katy.”

Find a Hospital Near You

VCA is proud to have teams of compassionate people like Katy all over the United States, Canada and beyond. Our teams take pride in being a familiar and comforting presence in the lives of pets and their people. Find a VCA hospital near you to experience world-class medicine with hometown care.