My Old Friend, George

Animal rescue has always been my focus. I don’t just write about rescues though; I write about life with an emphasis on how everyone can make a difference in the lives of these street dogs. Animal rescue is my passion and making the world a better place for the dogs is my mission. I know not everyone can adopt a dog. Not everyone can volunteer, foster or donate but I believe every single person in this world can do something to make it better.

Meet George.

Unable to bear weight on his left hind leg
I have been feeding George  on the streets of an industrial estate for the past 4+ years and over the years, I have seen age creep up on him. He ran and played less. He slept more. George is about 8 to 9 years old and extremely sweet and friendly.  He doesn’t ask for very much. A pat on his head, a hug from our volunteers and he is contented.
Last week, on one of our regular feeding rounds, we noticed that George hardly ate, as he lay on the road, listless. We patted and talked to him. His stomach seemed bloated and his weight loss was significant. We were concerned that he might have tick fever, as most street dogs do, so we made plans to bring him to the vet for a check up. He also walked with a slight limp, refusing to bear weight on his left hind leg. Traffic accidents are common amongst street dogs as they sometimes play on the roads, oblivious to traffic. Or they sleep under vehicles.
I picked George up on Thursday evening after work and took him straight to the vet. Dr Ang checked him and ordered an x-ray on his hip and stomach, as his stomach was extremely bloated and she could feel a huge mass inside. We were concerned it was cancerous. Blood tests were also conducted. Through it all, George was extremely obliging and cooperative, allowing Dr Ang to check him, draw blood etc. with not a single protest.
George being checked by Dr Ang

George looking really thin
While waiting for the results, George hobbled around the clinic, found a comfy spot, and settled down. I could feel his tiredness and pain. Tired from having lived on the streets all his life, fending away alpha dogs, fighting for food and struggling just to survive.  George had no life in his eyes; he seemed resigned to his fate.

George waiting for his x-ray and blood results
When his x-ray and blood results were out, what Dr Ang revealed came as a shock to me. George had a dislocated hip bone. His hip had come out of its socket! Can you imagine the excruciating pain he must have gone through? Next came even more awful news – the x-rays showed what seemed like stones or bones in his stomach and as it was life-threatening, he was immediately warded, put on drip and a stomach surgery was scheduled the following morning.

X-ray of George's hip dislocation
The shiny parts show how many bones there were in George's stomach
As if life hadn’t dealt him a hard enough blow, poor old George also had a flu, was extremely anemic and had Babesia (a stronger strain of tick fever).  Because of his flu and anemia, there was a 20% to 30% risk of death during the surgery but it was inevitable, as what seemed like stones or bones in George’s stomach was life threatening and had to be removed immediately.

George being warded
The following day, Dr Ang performed a stomach surgery on George. She had to make two cuts on his stomach and intestines and inside, she found LOTS of bones, some of which had ruptured his intestines. Someone had fed poor George a whole lot of bones and had we not taken George to the vet, he may have died a slow death on the streets. While George was under GA, Dr Ang also popped his hip joint back into its socket but this may not be a permanent solution as it might pop back out again when he moves or walks.

We visited George after his surgery. He was miserable and feeling terribly sorry for himself. His tail wagged slightly upon seeing us but that was the only response we could evoke. He lay on his cushion which volunteer, Leslie, had bought for him, refusing to make eye contact with us.

Dr Ang said he had to be warded for a few days, after which we should place him in a boarding kennel for about a week, for his stomach wound to heal entirely, before releasing him back to the streets. George’s surgery and boarding is estimated to cost about $1000.

The many bones removed from George's stomach
His hip surgery is estimated at about $2000 but we have yet to decide if we will proceed with it, because not only is it extremely expensive, but George would need to be fostered after the surgery to have his wound cleaned daily and to undergo therapy. We may not be able to provide him with this. Dr Ang assured us that although George’s muscles in his hind leg has wasted away, he should be able to cope with his hip dislocation. As long as he does not bear weight on that particular leg, he will not feel the pain.

George is warded at Mount Pleasant (Sunset Way) and should be there for another day or two before we transfer him to the boarding kennels for about one week. Should we decide not to proceed with his hip surgery, George will be returned to the streets when his wound has fully healed and like all our rescue cases, our volunteers will continue to monitor the dogs closely. 
After surgery. George, feeling sorry for himself and longing for a home of his own
With each tiny act of kindness, someone, somewhere feels the power of hope. And with each tiny bit of hope, the world becomes a better place. All George wants is a home of his own. He is tired of living on the streets.  If you can foster or adopt him, please do let me know. Perhaps if George has a place to call home, we could give him the hip surgery that he requires.
Making one dog smile... counts. And it matters. Do something amazing, make a sad dog happy. Help George.
To help George, please email Fiona at fiona@hopedogrescue.org
I apologize for the poor quality of some of the pictures taken with a mobile phone. The better quality pictures are courtesy of Leslie Kok and Lisa Goh :-))
Written by Fiona