Stray Dog #29

Whilst we have been feasting and merry making, an emaciated stray dog struggled to live.

We saw him while driving along Upper Bukit Timah Road. He stumbled across the road, body keeling sideways and struggling to find his balance. We immediately made a U-turn and drove towards his direction, quick thoughts running through our minds that we already had a carrier, leash and towels on standby in our van, ready to save a life anytime.
He was weak and in agonizing pain. Did anyone love him before?

Our initial thought was that perhaps he had been hit by a car as his gait was unsteady and  traffic was heavy along that stretch of road. As we found somewhere safe to pull over and approach him, he continued to walk along the pavement, stumbling and trying to find his balance. Closer to him, the familiar smell of raw open wounds hit us. The sight of his wounds and injuries brought even seasoned rescuers like myself to tears. He had a huge gaping wound on the back of his neck; many long knife-like slashes running down all his legs, with cuts and scars covering almost ALL parts of his body! If you could have seen him, you would imagine he had just returned from a battle where he obviously didn’t triumph.

Scars, cuts and wounds covered his body
Getting some love from our volunteer while waiting to be seen by the Vet
As this was not a dog we were familiar with, we stood close to him to assess the situation and his temperament. He showed no signs of aggression while his eyes showed tremendous pain and sadness. We managed to leash him and put him into our carrier but as the clinic was closed, we took him to a friend’s home to rest while waiting for the clinic to reopen. He didn’t put up a struggle at all, as if he was ready to surrender and give up on life.

At our friend’s home, we lay him on the bed and tried to clean his wound. It was horrific. The skin on top of his head could be peeled open! The wound must have been at least a week to 10 days old. He was totally exhausted and collapsed on the bed, not having any energy to even get up to eat. He lay emotionless, peed and poo-ed on the bed; not because he could not control himself, but likely that he had been running away from danger for weeks and his legs could no longer carry him. He refused food and water, and seemed ready for death to take him. We looked at his skinny frame and felt sorry for him. Scars, wounds and cuts covered most parts of his body and we wondered how he even survived this long.
A sad and painful existence

Rei's ear
We named him Rei, derived from the word “Reiki”, a positive energy from the Universe.

When we arrived at the Vet, the vets were shocked at the extent of his injuries. His wounds were cleaned and all the necessary blood works done. Surprisingly, he was free of heartworm and tick fever, commonly found in the street dogs we rescue. His kidney and liver functions were healthy too. The vet estimated him to be perhaps only 2+ years old. They could not figure out how his injuries came about and speculated that he could either have fallen into a drain or got into a dog fight. Looking at his wounds, we guessed that he was perhaps caged for a long while and had tried to escape. In the midst of escaping, he may have gotten scratched by the fencing or metal wires, as seen by the gashes on his limbs. His huge neck wound could have been the result of a dog attack. Rei also had a swollen right hind paw with a fractured toe. If his toe does not heel soon, he risks having it amputated.

Trusting the vet nurse to clean his wound
His fractured paw
It was decided that he needed to be warded immediately as he was severely malnourished, dehydrated and his wounds needed cleaning twice daily. He needs to remain at the vet for at least two weeks, till his wound dries and closes. 

Safe in the hands of a friend
 Throughout the cleaning of his wound, Rei remained calm and cooperative. Without a name, without human companionship yet he was the sweetest dog ever – not a whine or flinch as the vet cleaned his horrifying wounds. Imagine the excruciating pain he was in. 
Animals don’t seem to hold grudges or hide their true opinions the way humans do. We could learn a lot from them. Over the years I have learnt that expressing emotion is not a weakness; it is a sign of strength and depth and I have developed a deep respect for the dogs I work with.

Often when we rescue strays, we are amazed by their resilience, faith and trust in mankind, despite what humans have done to them. Rei trusted us and the vet totally, leaning on them when they cleaned his wound, knowing in his heart that they were there to help. 
Emaciated and exhausted
Rei is expected to remain at the vet for quite some time and his vet bill is estimated to be about $1800/- because of his twice a day cleaning of his wound, x-ray, and stay during the holiday closures. 

Please email Fiona if you would like to contribute to Rei’s vet bills, foster or adopt him. hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg 

Save a life. Adopt a dog.

You are the reason why I have hope for the animals.