Milo, So Well Loved

During our regular feeding rounds last Saturday, I received a call from one of our volunteers. She informed me about an injured dog which Fiona had spotted while driving past a factory. As we did not have a carrier with us, we agreed upon the rest continuing with the feeding while Fiona and Lisa stayed with the dog and I would rush off to collect a carrier. I was really excited while I was on the way to collect the carrier as I have always wanted to take part in such rescue missions after watching so many videos on dog rescue, knowing how much it would help and save the poor dogs from death and suffering.

The dog was spotted by Fiona while she was driving and she had immediately made a U-turn to go and check on the dog. Years of experience helps and she knew the dog had an injury and was bleeding. As they pulled over, the injured dog approached their van for food. Lisa put food for the dog, while trying to apply medicine on his wound as he ate. The wound was really deep and they could see a hollow. That’s when they decided to send me to get the carrier. As this was the first time they had seen this dog, they didn’t want to wait till daylight and risk losing the dog.

He hid under these lorries, away from us
It was terribly dark and dangerous for us, we could hardly see where we were going
They had tailed the dog into a factory which was muddy, slippery and poorly lit. There, the dog hid under a huge lorry for security, away from us. The whole place was filled with puddles of muddy water and petrol spillage which set back our movement speed by a lot as it was really slippery when stepped on. Not only was the floor dirty and muddy, the whole factory area was fully packed with big cement lorries and some with their containers half-way down. To add on to this already very bad surrounding, there was no street light or any form of light which caused low visibility. We had to move around the place very cautiously with the help of our phone lights so as not to knock our heads as we crept around, in case we slipped and fell. Despite the danger, the only thought on our minds was to bring the dog for the required medical attention as soon as possible.

After more than half an hour, the dog was still hiding under one of the parked lorries, refusing to come out even after coaxing him and trying to tempt him with delicious food. Getting desperate, I went to knock on the windows and doors of the different containers where I thought might have workers, and also the security guard house. Knocking them as hard and loud as possible to get the workers to wake up and help us with catching the dog.

To our delight, a worker finally came out from the security guard house half-asleep. The worker told us that this dog was their factory dog and that the wound had been there for about a week already. Describing the wound as a very deep puncture hole which could be caused by the attacks by other dogs from outside the factory. He said the dog’s name was Milo. 

Watch Milo's video here :

Upon hearing this, I was feeling so sad for this dog as his living environments was harsh. Little did I realise that although he was a calm and well-behaved dog, other dogs would still attack him.

After roughly an hour of squatting, half-bend posture and slow cautious movements while trying to coax the dog out, we finally caught him! He had somehow trusted Fiona and went close to her and she talked and coaxed him to slowly move towards the carrier. When he was close enough, she quickly shoved him into the carrier and we slammed the gate shut! I was over the moon as we were now able to help him and save him from his suffering!

Fiona and Lisa rushed him to the vet even though it was way after midnight and midnight charges were sky high. Taking the dog to the vet was a priority. The rest of the volunteers stayed behind to wash and clean up after stray feeding. 

Waiting for the vet to see him
After that, 5 of us went down to the vet to join the volunteers who brought him there. At the vet, we had a better look at him in the bright light, he was very good looking, like a bigger version of a Jack Russell Terrier, and his body was lean and muscular from years of running and living on the streets. The wound at his neck area was really deep and I could see the hollow gap in between his outer layer of fur from his flesh. There was a musky smell which I had never smelt before as this was the first time I was involved in a rescue, but was later educated by the senior volunteers that this was the smell of rotting flesh and maggots. Other than the deep puncture wound, his chest area was also red and its fur was wet, we were concerned that there were  more puncture wounds and so the vet gave him a shave around his neck area. 

Poor Milo's neck wound

After shaving his fur we could see how badly infected his wound was
He was in so much pain and yet he trusted us to allow us to touch him and shave his neck. After the shave, it revealed a very deep wound although there were no maggots. The vet advised we sedate him in order to clean the wound thoroughly. It was also less stressful for him.  While some of us were with Milo, the other half were in the car park washing and disinfecting the carrier.

By the time we left the vet, it was close to 3am. What a night it had been. Excitement yet pain and sadness. But I was really happy that I was able to play a part in rescuing an injured dog but at the same time feeling sad and heart-broken that a stray dog have to lead their life in fear of being caught and culled by the authorities, staying in such harsh environments, wondering where would be the next safest place to sleep, not knowing when will be the next time they are able to fill up their tiny stomachs and yet having to be a strong in order to prevent the others from bullying them. Nevertheless, I was really glad that he is now in safe hands and that the required medical attentions are provided for him! He would be the inspiration to me for wanting to save more street dogs in the future, to save them from their sufferings and pain.

Written by Cecilia Huang

Note from Fiona : The following day, Milo was transferred from the hospital to our regular vet clinic, where he is still presently warded. The flesh around his wound was dead and it would have taken months for his wound to close on its own, and so poor Milo had to undergo a second surgery to remove the dead flesh and then have his wound stitched up. He was also sterilized and ear-tipped. He has been at the vet for about a week and his wound is healing well. His bill to date, with 2 surgeries, sterilization, and emergency charges, has amounted to about $2000++. He is estimated to stay at the clinic for a week more before discharge. We want his would to heal completely before returning him to his factory.

Having his dressing changed. Milo is such a pleasant dog
On Monday, I received an email from the factory where Milo was rescued. It was an email sent by his factory workers and lorry drivers. One of them had seen us taking Milo away, and saw on our shirts that we were from HOPE Dog Rescue. They Googled and then emailed us and said they wanted to visit him at the vet. We were impressed and amazed at how they found us and their concern and love for him.

One of the workers, Eric, told me that Milo is about 6 years old and that he had moved with them from Sembawang. The workers loved him and took turns buying him chicken or vegetable rice for his lunch daily, saying he refuses to eat dog food.

After talking to them, they were agreeable to license Milo and we will assist them in the process. We will also educate them on how to feed and care for him properly. Eric also visited Milo at the vet once, despite his busy work schedule.

Eric told us that they only noticed Milo’s wound a few days before we did and the workers had taken turns catching  Milo to apply medication. Initially there were lots of maggots but by the time we took him on Saturday night, there was none, although the stench of maggots was still apparent. The workers had taken care of him and tried their best to help him, despite their little knowledge on caring for a dog.

Better off than Amber, at least Milo has a family to return to
So when Milo is discharged from the vet in a weeks’ time, unlike Amber, we know he will have a family to return to.

To help with Milo’s vet bills, please email hopedogrescue@singnet.com.sg