Molly Needs A Home

I first heard of Molly when I received a text message from Fiona, HOPE Dog Rescue's founder on our group chat at 7ish in the morning of July 20th. The message simply said 'Caught her at 330am. Took almost 2 hours to get her but we got her. Poor girl. Looks like wild boar trap". That message was accompanied by a photo of poor Molly, standing on threes, head down with her right forelimb bone jutting out in place of a missing paw. Immediately my heart went out to her and later in the day, I made my way to visit her at The Animal Doctors where she will undergo a surgery to address her severe injury.
The first photograph of Molly

Words failed to express the emotions I felt seeing her for the first time... she was muzzled, lying on the floor, surrounded by 2 vet assistants, one to clean her open wound, the other to help restrain and calm her down. And her open wound... my gosh... seeing the bone jutting out, along with tendons and muscles... ugh... I could not imagine the amount of pain she must have gone through and was still experiencing. Despite all this, Molly maintained a very dignified and stoic presence, befitting of the trooper she is.

A couple of days after her successful surgery where her right forelimb was amputated, I visited Molly again. She was placed in the isolation room and was recovering well. Her appetite was very good and the nurse said she was no longer in pain. When I first approached her, Molly tracked my every movement with suspicion, I opened her cage and she inched further away, with her eyes fixed on me the whole time. I just sat in front of her and started talking to her. And she seemed to listen. And on and on I went, talking and talking and her eyes softened and I tried to touch her. Immediately she was on guard again but as I continued talking, she relaxed once again and put her head down, I tried to touch her then and she was on guard yet again. This went on for a while before I eventually managed to stroke her very lightly on her left paw, nose and upper back. 

Molly's stump after amputation

Later in the week, I received a message from Fiona saying that the vet said Molly was rather aggressive, that she growled when attempts were made to touch her. I was asked to go visit her daily since I managed to touch her the last time round. On my 2nd visit, I talked to Molly for a good 30 mins before being able to really pat her and after the initial wariness, Molly seemed to enjoy the human touch and fell asleep while I was patting her. For the next 5 days before Molly was discharged, I visited her daily, spending about 1-2 hours each time with her and I could tell she was getting used to me, always listening to me when I talked to her, allowing me to touch her within minutes of my arrival. She did growl sometimes when I attempted to touch her too soon but I just stopped and explained to her that I meant no harm and tried again. Eventually she will just relax and enjoy the attention. Molly also loved treats and just about any food given to her. She will take food from one's hand but ever so gently, so as not to bite us accidentally. She has a very healthy appetite and will finish all the home cooked meals we brought for her. Her wound was also healing beautifully and removal of the stitches was done without a hitch. 

Although wary but still allowing the volunteers to pat her

Enjoying the touch and falling asleep :)

Molly dispels all myths about street dogs being aggressive. She eats ever so gently from the hands in spite of having been food deprived previously.

Grateful for the home-cooked food that we bring her
A kind lady, Ann, mother to 3 older rescued dogs kindly offered to foster Molly. On August 4th, Molly was discharged and the transfer from her cage to the pet carrier went really smooth. We were initially worried that Molly would not leave her cage which she regarded as her safe house but surprisingly she walked from the cage to the carrier without a fuss. Maybe she knew that her life will be different from then on…

Discharging Molly from the vet

Arriving in fosterer Ann's house

The fosterer stays in a house with a garden. So we figured the best place for Molly to be in is the outside kitchen where she has access to the garden for her toilet, shelter from the elements while having her own privacy until she gets used to the family and the dogs. For now, we put her on a long leash as we cannot chance the possibility of her escaping. The first thing Molly did was to explore the whole place and went to the furthest corner that her leash allowed her to and did her business. She then went back to the area underneath the sink and laid down. The other dogs were rather curious about her and in the first week, one by one, they went to check Molly out, though not going too close as though they understood she needed time to get used to them. 

Stepping apprehensively out of the carrier into her temporary sanctuary

Extremely fearful and unsure of her fate
It is common for rescue dogs to constantly plot their escapes for the first initial weeks, so for now, Molly is still on a long leash.

The first thing that she did when being let out of the carrier was to make a dash to the furthest corner of the back yard to pee and poop. She makes an effort to stay clean in spite of her disability and difficulty to move around.

Still emaciated even after our efforts to fatten her up

She feels safest in the corner right under the sink

Molly's mobility is not limited although she only has 3 legs

I now visit Molly twice a week at the foster's home. And each time I go, I see improvements: in her health, in her general being, in her behavior towards me. During the first week, Molly was always hiding underneath the counter and was very defensive whenever her leash was moved. Since then, I have seen her walk about, interacting with the other dogs and she seemed so much more at ease. Her wound has healed beautifully and her scar is practically invisible. Her healthy appetite continues and she has put on some weight.  I have been grooming her the last couple of weeks, she really enjoys having her ears cleaned and she would close her eyes as I brush her face and her head. With the recent removal of the ecollar, Molly became more comfortable to being touched and patted. I can now easily pat her anywhere and she has fallen asleep many times while I was stroking her head. What I really love about her is that she really seems to listen when being spoken to, giving me her undivided attention and she looks like she understands everything I tell her.

Displaying obvious contentment at being loved and groomed

Wound has healed very nicely

Molly is still wary of humans, of any sudden movements made towards her. She might give a low growl when you touch her if she didn't want to be touched but she has never bitten anyone before. She will need time, a lot of time, to warm up to a person. But given what has happened to her, I think Molly is doing amazingly well... to cope with the trauma of being caught in a trap, escaping from it, bearing with the severe pain of an open wound for at least a week, undergoing surgery, losing a limb, staying at the clinic, adapting to a new environment... and who knows what other hardships she has endured before being rescued…

Molly is so much happier now after the removal of her E-collar. I think I can see a shadow of a smile here. Can you see it too?

Please give Molly a home 

Molly needs someone who is patient, someone who can understand that time is needed to gain her trust, to realize her capacity for love, someone who can guide her in the ways to becoming part of a family... I wish the very best for her and that happiness will follow her  in every step of her life. 
To adopt Molly, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org

Story courtesy of Leslie Kok. Photograph credits: Leslie Kok & Esther Low.
Our first post on Molly was recently picked up the press and published in Lianhe Zaobao on 5 August 2012

Note from Fiona : I would like to thank everyone who has shown concern for Molly. In any rescue, its not just about one person. It's many people, for that one dog. Dogs are my life; without them, I would be "jobless"! Many people are involved and everyone plays a role; be it the caller who informed us, the generous donors or our volunteers. Everyone fits into this rescue jigsaw and each role is equally important and meaningful. Special thanks to Leslie who has patiently, slowly but surely, won Molly's trust. And Ann, who graciously offered to foster Molly till she finds her forever home. Thank you.