Harry's Pain

Over the course of the past few years actively volunteering in animal welfare and working with street animals, I often feel that I have seen it all. The injuries, the mindless accidents by irresponsible drivers speeding and injuring the dogs, puppies upon puppies born amidst rubble, filth and danger, by unsterilized bitches; abuse and cruelty by humans; either intentional or pure ignorance. I believed I had seen it all. Then came Harry.

Gorgeous Harry
Harry lives a very different life from most street or factory dogs. While the other factory dogs such as Mookie have care-givers, workers to play with and pat them, Harry has no one. While these dogs have other dogs for companionship and fellow playmates, Harry spends his days under a lorry, idling and wasting away, having nothing to look forward to in his life. His life is aimless, meaningless and painful, in more ways than one.

When I am feeling sick and in pain, I have my family and friends to show concern, to care for me, tell me to rest well and ensure I have taken my medication and am recovering. When Harry is unwell and in pain, he lies under the lorry, cold, alone and hoping that his days of pain and misery would end soon; that God would take him away from his lonely, suffering life. He wouldn’t expect someone to come and put a towel over him, to shelter him from the cold, lonely nights; he wouldn’t expect someone to come and stroke his head and tell him everything would be alright and that they care for him. He has never experienced such love and probably never will . . . . .

Is this what we want for darling Harry?

Volunteers have taken Harry to the vet twice in the past two weeks. I thought I had seen it all but what Harry did on that one particular outing to the vet, made our volunteers and myself break down. We were moved to tears by Harry and the sadness we felt for him was immense. It was obvious that he longed to walk on grass, to smell the flowers, and most of all, to feel the rain trickle down his face. I had never seen any dog do what Harry did and the pain that shot through my heart hurt almost physically . . . . he stood in the drizzle, looking up and enjoyed the rain dripping down his face. It was heartbreaking. Our volunteers were so distressed by what Harry did, they stood in the drizzle with him, tears rolling down their cheeks, allowing him to savour every moment of what he missed.

Harry literally stopped to smell the flowers for almost an entire hour!

Harry stood there for the longest time, having the water droplets from the leaves drip and roll down his face. (The rain had just stopped).

 Holding back her tears. Look at the long deep scar running down Harry's left side.
While walking outside the vet, Harry did a ‘poop” and I noticed that his stools was red and bloody. I immediately went inside the clinic to ask Dr Ang to do a fecal test for Harry and as if he doesn’t already have enough health problems, Harry had hookworms as well! Hookworms are really difficult to get rid of and although he has been dewormed, he will have to be checked regularly. Hookworms come about by him licking the infected pooh of another dog or cat. There aren’t any other dogs or cats around, so we're not sure how Harry got the hookworms. Hookworms cling onto the intestines of a dog, sucking it’s blood.

Dr Ang had mentioned that because of Harry’s heart murmur and water in his lungs, he is not fit to undergo a biopsy to confirm if he really does have cancer. Apart from prostate cancer, Dr Ang suspects that Harry might have TVTTransmittable Venereal Tumour, which has similar symptoms. To rule out one or the other, Harry needs to go to the vet for four consecutive weeks, to get weekly jabs of Vincristine, a chemotherapeutic drug. If after four weeks of injections, the swelling in his private parts does not go down, then it is highly likely that he does indeed have prostate cancer. He has had two injections, with two more to go.

Blood in Harry's pee

Taking a blood sample

Each time he goes for his injection, a blood test needs to be done, to ensure his blood count is normal, before he receives the chemotherapeutic drug. For his first injection, Harry also had an x-ray done on his chest region. I assisted in the x-ray procedure and was amazed at what a sweet dog Harry was. He lay on the x-ray table without struggle, allowing the vet tech to flip him over, shift him a bit etc. He is such an angel.

Despite being prodded and jabbed at the vet, I think I see harry smiling!

He desperately needed a bath!

Harry’s blood count has gone up slightly over the course of one week. However, he had also lost 2 kg over that one week. This is a rather drastic weight loss and we are concerned that he is not feeling too well, as he still pees blood and sheds a lot.

Through animal communication, we found out that he is in some pain and his legs are starting to hurt as well. He is sad that his legs are not as good as it used to be and that he longed for a good bath. With that, I immediately got our team of volunteers to give Harry a good bath after his vet visit. Our volunteers bathed him three times till he smelled really good and was nice and clean. His ears had thick layers of oil and he was a few shades lighter after his bath. Volunteers spent half a day with Harry, patting him, massaging him, talking to him and then rewarding him with roast duck, which he loves!

Harry enjoying his bath - probably his first in a very long time

His ears covered with grime

Volunteers bathing Harry while some wash the carrier that Harry used

Next weekend Harry will go for his third injection. I know he is looking forward to us taking him out to the vet and then for a nice stroll, followed by another good bath and our volunteers are looking forward to that too.

Is this really enough for Harry?
In all honesty, I often feel that what I do for the street dogs is sufficient. I provide them with food, sterilization and medical care. In my opinion, that is more than any street dog could ask for, and that’s the best I can do for them. However, with Harry, I feel I have not helped him enough, that this is not what he wants. Is it fair to visit him just once a week for a few hours, to take him to the vet, walk, bathe and feed him, then leave him to suffer alone in pain again till our next visit? By taking him to the vet, are we indirectly prolonging his suffering? I don’t always have the answers . . . .  although I wish I did.

When we leave the factory, Harry hangs his head down and walks sadly back to his home, under the lorry and sleeps, resigned to his fate.
While we were leaving, Harry retreated back to his usual spot, fading back into his lonely life

I thank everyone who have helped Harry with his vet and food bills, and I thank the volunteers that have cooked for him, fetched him to the vet, bathed him, etc

Look at the photograph below. Can you see the difference in how Harry looks? One shows sadness in his eyes while the other shows happiness and life! The difference? One was taken at the factory, and the other was taken at the vet, surrounded by humans and by people who cared for him.
Harry - at the factory compared to him out in the sunshine

Enjoying the rain on his face

Is there someone who could foster Harry till his last days? He doesn’t have very long . . . . .  and believe me, he doesn’t ask for much, just your love.

Harry's vet bills to date :
1st week - x-ray, fecal check, blood test and 1st injection - $282
2nd week - blood test and 2nd injection - $150

Thank you. Please help Harry.

Written by Fiona