ROTTERDAM, N.Y. — A dog hit by a car in upstate New York rode for 45 minutes wedged between the broken bumper and the grille before the driver realized she was carrying an injured passenger.

Coco the shiba inu was being treated for a fractured elbow after being struck Monday morning in Albany.

Rotterdam Police Lt. Jeffrey Collins says the driver knew she hit something and noticed the car's damage but didn't see the dog at first. She drove about 15 miles to Rotterdam before hearing noises and stopping to recheck her car's front end. She called 911 after she saw the dog gazing from below the license plate.

"Saw something coming into the road, thought it was a ball, possibly an animal, struck it," said Collins. "Stopped, checked, realized there was some damage to her vehicle, but didn't realize that the dog had been embedded almost into the front grille or front scoop of the car."

A Schenectady veterinary clinic worker told WNYT-TV that 16-pound Coco "fit perfectly" in the space behind the bumper and was lucky to be alive.

"I couldn't believe she survived, to be honest," said Noella LaFreniere of Hernas Veterinary Clinic, where Coco is being treated. 

"It was like the perfect fit. She fit perfectly in that bumper and came out alive, and it's shocking to us. Working with the animals all these years, it's shocking. She's very lucky," she said. 

Police located Coco's owner.

"She's a trooper, she really is," said LaFreniere, as she held Coco. "She's just so mellow and so good, and we can't wait to do the surgery to get her better and get her home."

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