February 27, 2006
Whilst walking home from the Amazon Cares clinic one afternoon I came across a pitiful creature in the street. A small black & white dog lay huddled in a doorway. Much of her fur was missing due to mange, & what remained was mattered & filthy.
She was bareing her teeth at two large male dogs that were constantly harrassing her. On closer inspection I see that her left leg was dangling, clearly broken and that it was swollen to the shoulder with an infection. The poor little dog was in heat which is why the males were so interested in her. What a heartbreaking sight - she could barely stand up & yet had to fend off two aggressive dogs. I couldn't imagine how awful the situation would be when inevitably this pack of males increased in number to who knows how many.
Thank god for Amazon Cares! I didn't have to walk away and leave this poor animal to suffer & perhaps die slowly in the street. Catching her was no easy task. Not surprisingly she wanted to bite us too! Dog catcher Harry, using skills learnt from episodes of the 'Lone Ranger', was able to deftly lasso her & hold her steady while I quickly gave her an intramuscular injection of a tranquilliser.
We christened her 'Sarah' in honor of a Molly's niece, and then we took Sarah to her new home for treatment. Friday night at 8pm when most people are enjoying a movie or a beer, the fantastic dedicated & uncomplaining Amazon Cares staff, Dr Ester, Harry & I were bundling two sedated dogs into a three wheeled mototaxi to travel to a human radiology clinic to take xrays. And what fabulous xrays they were too! Of course, I shouldn't mention that there were no lead gowns, gloves or thyroid gland protectors for the dog holders (ie. us!) to put on. Health and safety is not yet an issue in Peru.
The happy ending to the story is that Sarah has a minimally displaced mid shaft fracture of the radius, and with a bit of improvisationion (and a plastic clothes hanger!) she now has a splint. She is also taking oral clindamycin for the infection. There was no option of surgical repair as we don't have the necessary equipment so fingers crossed that the splint provides sufficient stability and immobilisation. The photo at right shows Sarah still recovering in April, 2006.
And after four days in the clinic Sarah wagged her tail and let me pat her head for the 1st time. Moments like this make me so happy that I am a vet.
May 2009: Update on Puppy Sarah! You'll have to look twice! Even I couldn't believe this is the same little puppy we saved. Her happy Mom brings her in for regular check-ups!
Sadly, stories like these are all too common.
Amazon CARES is a non-profit 501(c)(3) through the International Humanities Center.
Donations are tax-deductible. See official documentation.
Please donate so that we can provide animals like Sarah a new life.
Return to the Amazon CARES homepage.