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Two cars hit helpful hound on newspaper delivery route

Travis takes his job seriously, rising each day at 1:30 a.m. to help his owner deliver newspapers.

But the 18-month-old boxer slipped away from owner Debbie Hood Tuesday morning. By Tuesday evening, Travis was struggling to recover from injuries sustained when he was hit by two cars on Tampa Road. Hood's husband, Harold, was bruised when one of those cars hit him as well.

The brown and white dog, part of the Hood family since he was a puppy, may face thousands of dollars in surgery, said the veterinarian who treated him shortly after the accident. The Humane Society of North Pinellas is collecting donations.

The ordeal began about 5:30 a.m. when Debbie Hood, a St. Petersburg Times carrier, arrived at her Dunedin home and realized that Travis was no longer in her delivery van.

Debbie gets out of the van to place the newspapers on people's doorsteps, and Travis usually follows her, said Harold Hood, the city of Dunedin's arborist.

After searching on his motorcycle through several subdivisions, Harold found the dog lying in an eastbound left-turn lane of Tampa Road. He stopped his motorcycle and reached for the dog, which had been hit by a car.

"All of a sudden, I looked back behind me and here comes a car. The last thing I remember, I saw my bike in the air and I'm trying to get out of the way and the car hits me," said Harold, whose wife witnessed the accident.

Harold Hood's legs and chest were bruised. But Travis had been run over again. No one was charged in that accident.

Dr. Tiffany Bogart said Travis suffered broken bones and head injuries. "We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hope he stays stable," Bogart said.