Maggie the cattle dog headed back to the ranch Wednesday.
A little more than two weeks after suffering life-threatening injuries when she was struck by an impatient motorist, the 8-year-old border collie walked out of Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic, a red-and-black bandanna around her neck, and was greeted by reporters and photographers.
Maggie didn't set out to be a star, but her story captured the heart of the community, with about 150 people donating to help cover her medical costs, said Jon Cunnington, veterinary clinic administrator.
"She's recovered faster than I would have expected," said veterinary surgeon Mike Dearmin.
Although Maggie faces at least two months of recuperation with exercise limited to on-leash walks, Dearmin said he is optimistic that she will be able to return to herding.
"She's very intelligent, and that made a big difference (in her recovery)," he said. "Because she's a working dog, she's eager to please and was able to follow our instructions."
Maggie's owner, Nevada County rancher John Reader, said, "She's one in a thousand as far as her work ability."
Reader raised her from a pup and said she required little training herding just came naturally.
On Father's Day, Maggie was helping Reader and mounted riders herd about 300 head of cattle along Alleghany-Ridge Road in Sierra County en route to summer pasture. Pilot cars were in front and back of the herd.
As the cattle moved along the road, cars stopped to let the herd pass. But a white Jeep Cherokee pushed through instead of waiting. Reader said the driver gunned the car, ran into a calf and cow, and struck Maggie, who was on the road's shoulder.
Maggie suffered a broken right hind leg and a deep cut to her left hind leg, and her liver and stomach were pushed into her chest cavity. She underwent surgery to repair her broken leg with a pin and screws, Dearmin said.
A few days later, Sierra County sheriff's deputies arrested a man accused of injuring the dog, Justin Philip Lombardobarton, 19, of Camptonville, and booked him on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, animal cruelty and vandalism.
Reader said his anger over the incident has been tempered by the outpouring of public concern: "There are not enough words to describe how I feel about the community support and how wonderful it has been."
In response to the interest, the veterinary clinic posted updates on Maggie's condition on its website.
After the family announced that sufficient funds had been received to cover costs to date, Cunnington said about 50 people directed their donations to the Loomis Basin Helping Pets Fund.
"Some said, 'Hey, I just want to help animals,' " Cunnington said.