An office lady working at one of the factories where we feed regularly had gotten hold of Fiona’s number from one of her colleagues. “Injured dog in bad state and *address,” read her text message. The address she provided looked very familiar and after years of working with the street dogs in the same industrial estate, Fiona immediately knew it was the same factory where we found Sunday. That got us curious; which dog was it who got hurt this time? A wave of horror overcame us as we saw the photo in the attachment. Fiona immediately called the sender. We were coming to help.
Photo received from the office worker sent sadness through Fiona’s heart.
Shortly after, Fiona brought a carrier to the factory, along with a leash and food to lure the dog out. While driving down, images of Beano flashed in her mind. It was drizzling, but the dog was nowhere to be found. After searching in vain, Fiona left the carrier there for the night and taught the workers what to do in case the dog reappeared.
Waiting was the hardest part. We didn’t know what had happened, or what would happen if we didn’t manage to catch the dog. Had he gone somewhere to lie down and wait for death to overcome him? Such was the sad life of a street dog, just another nameless carcass for NEA to dispose of.
|Years of struggling to live on the streets; they often look much older than they really are.|
But late at night the next day, Fiona finally received a call from the workers. The dog was in a terrible state. Just as Fiona was rushing down to help, the worker called back to say they had got the dog in the carrier. He could hardly stand and was just too weak to struggle.
|He must be in so much pain|
|We hope that he hasn't given up hope|
The vet had closed for the night, so Fiona had to wait till morning to rush the dog to the vet.
As Fiona bent down to look at the dog, it was obvious he was in a very weak state. He was panting very heavily, struggling to breathe. The sickening stench of rotting flesh and crawling maggots filled the van as she drove to the vet. It was, by now, an all too familiar smell.
|A massive maggot-festering wound|
|Jaspar left trails of maggots in his path|
|Jaspar was too timid to come out of the carrier|
The vet tech spent more than an hour picking the maggots from the raw, cavernous wound. There were hundreds and hundreds of them, some really fat. They had been feasting on his flesh for many days. Many of them were baby maggots too. He remained still throughout what should have been an excruciating process, too weak to struggle and too numb to feel.
|He really didnt need to be muzzled, it was just a safety precaution. Jaspar is a sweetheart.|
The blood tests came back, and to our dismay, the results were not good. He has tick fever and septicemia, or septic shock. The infection had crept into his bloodstream. The normal white blood count for dogs was 17, but his was well over the norm at 80! He could die anytime! It was the highest the vet had ever seen. She told us to prepare for the worst, as he might not make it through the night. A blood test would be done in another two days if he pulled through, and only if the white blood count had gone down, then we may allow ourselves and him to hope.
That feeling of despair and helplessness is what we dread the most. To be able to do nothing but watch, as a life slips away from us. We could only hope with all our strength, that he had enough strength too, to make it through the night. He was hooked up to a drip and put on the strongest antibiotics. All that was left, was to pray that he would be there in the morning when we visited.
|Cleaning his face|
The best news came in the morning. He had made it! Darling Jaspar received a steady stream of visits from our volunteers throughout the day, who brought him delicious and nutritious meals of beef and liver. By midday, he had already wolfed down three meals! It’s cliched, but it was really like approaching the light at the end of a tunnel.
Story by Elena Lin. Photography by Leslie Kok.