Matthieu Smiles Again (4th Update)

Matthieu’s story touched, and broke, many hearts. His courage and strength to survive was seen when he was injured and paralyzed from the waist down, yet he survived by hiding under a lorry for two weeks before Mr Aziz informed us of his plight and we went down to save him.

Matthieu stayed at The Animal Doctors for three months, although he was due for discharge after just a few weeks, simply because we could not find someone to foster him. Many people felt sorry for him, but no one had come forth to offer him a temporary home to recover till he was ready for his spinal surgery. He had ringworms and that needed to clear before he could undergo the surgical procedure, yet staying at the clinic wasn’t helping. His condition deteriorated, the ringworms didn’t go away and poor Matthieu became an old cranky dog. He was temperamental, he bit his masseuse and he howled in his cage. Despite all that, we loved him and understood what he was going through. Mr Aziz had shared with us that Matthieu had lived in his factory as an alpha dog. He was always the first to eat and when he ate, no other dogs went near; they waited patiently till he was done. Matthieu was the leader of the pack, a dog used to freedom and fresh air yet now he was cooped up 24/7 in a cage for three months, putting up with the barking and mewing of other smaller creatures he had never ever seen before. From being mobile, he now had to drag himself around . . .  . .anyone in that situation would feel like biting and fighting back too. Our volunteers took turns to take him out for walks and to sit outside the clinic with him, chatting for hours while Matthieu lay outside and fell asleep to their droning. However, these outings were soon limited by the vets as Matthieu had ringworms and they were concerned it would pass on to the other pets. Poor Matthieu was once again confined to his cage.

Then a week back, an angel came into our lives; Bee Yan called and offered to foster Matthieu temporarily till his ringworm cleared and he goes for his surgery. Temporary? That was good enough for us! We arranged for his discharge and Leslie and Marion went down to transport Matthieu to his new foster home. Matthieu was elated with his very own car porch! Freedom to move about, a view of the garden, sunshine and fresh air! We can’t thank Bee Yan enough for offering Matthieu temporary boarding and all the extra work she and her family have put into caring for him. With his new place, our volunteers are now able to visit Matthieu almost daily to exercise and walk him around the garden, sit and chat with him and he had his very first bath in almost 10 years!
Elated at having his very own car porch
Jin Hui and Leslie giving Matthieu his very first bath!

Matthieu thanks all the volunteers who have taken turns to deliver food to him religiously for the past 3 months. He has finally put on some weight.
Eyes that show courage and resilience
Matthieu has now been cleared of the ringworms but the poor boy seems to be riddled with one health issue after another. Foster Bee Yan noticed that his pee had fresh blood in it, although previously his pee was a reddish liquid that was diluted. So Leslie and Marion took Matthieu back to The Animal Doctors for a check. It was a bittersweet reunion at The Animal Doctors. Matthieu dragged himself around the clinic reception saying hello to all the staff who had cared for him, receiving loving pats in return.
Watch Matthieu's journey. He has come a long way:

The vet said she would treat Matthieu for Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) and see if the blood clears within two weeks. If it doesn’t, then she would need to carry out an ultrasound. The vet was concerned it would be something cancerous but we won’t be thinking about that for now.
Once again his surgery needs to be postponed.
I have been asked many times, not just with Matthieu, but with our other rescue dogs as well, why didn’t you put them down? My answer is, why should I? They are not in pain or suffering, they are eating well and relatively happy. Look at Matthieu today. Look at that cheeky grin on his face! Do you think he was ready to give up on life? If he was, he would not have hung on for two weeks, waiting for help to come. Would you have been able to put a dog down, knowing he had spent 10 rough years on the road, surviving unthinkable hardship and when help finally came along, to take the dog to the vet only to end his life? I am incapable of such an action. I would have thought, after 10 years of hardship, he has finally been saved, let’s give him a few good remaining years if we can.
Look at that cheeky grin and how happy he is to be alive! How could I possibly have put him down?

This doesn’t mean we have not put dogs down. We have. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t try to save the world but we do try to save them within our means, albeit a hand to mouth existence. People tell us this isn’t the way to go, we can’t survive on a hand to mouth existence, but we have come thus far and if I have to do it over again, without a doubt, I will. We are blessed that we work with understanding vets who allow us credit and know that we will pay up when we can afford to. 

Matthieu has suffered 10 long years, living his life as a stray, not knowing what tomorrow had in store for him. He doesn’t ask for much, just a garden to move about without hurting himself and a family to show him that his 10 years of waiting . . . struggling . . .is finally over.
Priceless smile!
Today when I visited Matthieu at his foster home, for the very first time since his rescue. . . .  .I saw him wag his tail. No amount of money can buy that wag!
To adopt Matthieu, please email fiona@hopedogrescue.org
Video credits : Leslie Kok. Matthieu’s maids in waiting : Sherry, Leslie, Lisa, Buven, Jin Hui, Marion and Isabelle.