16 July 2007

Dog Dilemma

At the last Adoption fair we were approached by a local gentleman who expressed his wish for Care for Dogs to help him to sterilise his dogs. After discussion with him, it transpired that he had over 30 dogs at his home, which he cared for lovingly but had no funds to get them sterilised so was forced to keep the females enclosed away from the males.

We had not had chance to check out his home ( he lives a long way from our usual area and besides, time = dogs !!) but had got a genuine dog loving feeling from the man and the vet he would use seemed respectable. After many phone calls pleading for our help, 2 weeks ago we agreed to assist him with his struggle and help him to sterilise 5 of the 7 females he had, the other 2 would need to wait as they had recently given birth.

Today we visited his home.

I took along a friend who had persistently nagged me to visit the man, as she wanted to help him and he was calling her daily. She speaks fluent Thai, so I felt a little easier about the language barrier I would face with this man as this would no doubt be eased by a Thai speaking companion.

At first I was greeted by the sight of so many friendly and sociable dogs running freely in a garden, who wanted to lick & hug me, as if they knew me forever. We walked around some old cars with their bonnets up, awaiting repair but rust had set in & the doors seized shut in the meantime. We saw many puppies on the floor, on, in & under workshop benches staggering about in what seemed a drunken daze.( the ones that were 'on' fell off during our stay ) There was also a cage with an old rice sack as a bed which was caked in faeces old & new. The 5 pups inside were just a bit bigger than my hand ( ok I have big hands ) and rather than staggering, these were laying motionless but breathing.

I asked where the sterilised dogs were and one by one he showed me by picking them up by the elbows and carrying them to me. The first one I saw, a gorgeous Dalmatian mix who just wanted me to tickle her tummy, I noticed the wound had healed and asked when he had taken the stitches out. He was surprised at the question and asked "what stitches". I looked closer and could see 8 tiny red dots and under them lumps. The wound had healed completely over the stitches and now they were left inside. I asked him to show me the medication the vet had given him for the dogs and he showed me half empty bags. When I asked him about why he hadn't taken the dogs back for removal of stitches, he said the vet had not told him to. And about the medication? He told me that they didn't eat it when he offered it to them. I showed him how to open the mouth of the dog with one hand and pop the tablet at the back of the mouth and then hold the mouth closed while rubbing the neck and he was astounded. He rushed over to his wife and made sure she witnessed how easy it was and she was equally surprised.

I looked at all 5 of the dogs and found them in varying degrees of healing. I was able to remove the stitches of the remaining 4, not without a great struggle to get the knot of the catgut out through the remaining small healing wound of the stitch. Surprisingly, only one of the four had an infection to worry about and this stitch was a nightmare to remove. I 'operated' on the bonnet of one of the cars, well it was my height & available and showed the man what I was doing at every step. At one point the string which kept his spectacles firmly wrapped to his head, dangled into my line of sight between me & the stitch, because he was so inquisitive and interested in what I was doing, getting an up close look. To be honest, when later he took the spectacles off, I hardly recognised him because he had lost his stretched, slant eye, fighter pilot look.

Anyway, I sifted through the collection of other problems the dogs showed and as well as the severe flea & tick problem, found a dog with a serious case of bacterial infection, another Dalmatian mix with blood dripping from her vulva and a couple of mange cases. The major worry was the pups.

After several attempts to motivate my companion to instruct the man to take the pups , the Dalmatian mix, and the bacteria case to the vet, and another hour of trying to rationalise why I was there, why we were helping and where we ( Care for Dogs ) should go from here, I loaded the pups, the bleeding vulva & the bacteria case onto the truck and told the man we would be away a while.

I drove a 40 kilo round trip to a vet I am confident with. I explained the circumstances of each dog & their home surroundings. The vet tested and confirmed the bacteria case and suggested that the Dalmatian mix might have an infection of the cervix.

He then ran tests on the pups and said he was puzzled why some were so lifeless and others were swaying from side to side. At this point, my companion interjected and said that the man had told her that he had injected them with Ivomec to deworm them. With a slight sense of frustration I walked to the water fountain and took a long drink of cold, refreshing and above all, calming water.

The vet recommended that one pup who appeared weaker than others, should stay in for drip treatment & observation. The others should be given vitamins and allowed to overcome their condition naturally.

My companion stripped off her latex gloves and asked me if Care for Dogs would be helping the man with the payment of this vet trip. I politely suggested she could seriously help the man by paying for the bill herself.

On returning the other dogs to the man's home, we were introduced to their pet Tshi zoo & poodle, ( don't ask! ) and gave him some food for the pups and strict instructions on the future use of Ivomec. I also brought flea & tick spraying solution and demonstrated that process to him as well.

I came away feeling so disappointed in the man for causing the suffering to these dogs he obviously loved & cared for. I was upset that we had not visited earlier, before agreeing to allow him to take the 5 dogs to a vet who we would then pay. I felt I had met a genuine dog lover, of which there are so many in Thailand but this man had no basic common sense or education about health care. The dilemma - help these dog loving people finacially or not. The resolve - educate and improve their understanding and help them help themselves.

1 comment:

McClure said...

It is extremely unfortunate that there is a lack of education about health care for dogs and respect for animals....but just remember that you are making a difference! I doubt the guy you helped will ever forget you. And hopefully he will become a more responsible dog owner! Keep your head up!
Namaste~ McClure