Friday, May 12, 2017

A Dog's Life in the Philippines

In the Philippines dogs are routinely neglected.  Owners let their dogs roam free to dig through trash and mate with any other dog that comes by. Unrestricted mating leads to a plethora of puppies no one wants and no one cares for. They become strays and the cycle repeats itself.

Stray dogs frequently run and play near the highways so it was no surprise when I found a dead dog laying next to the curb while I was waiting for a jeepney.

20 April 2017
On closer inspection I could see that the dog was breathing. Barely. A conundrum arose: should I continue on my errands or should I try to save this dog's life?  Was he able to be saved?  There was no blood or sign of physical trauma but surely this dog was on death's door. 

I headed back to the house to retrieve the animal carrier so I could transport him home.

Physically the dog was fine. No broken bones, no cuts, no bleeding from the mouth or the anus. The problem seemed to be severe dehydration. Not knowing what to do and not wanting to take the dog to a vet just yet because the dog was too close to death we decided to call the vet for advice and he recommended we feed the dog liquids  We filled a syringe with water, sugar water, gatorade, yakult, anything with nutrients and forced it down his throat.

All of a sudden, after about 5 hours, the dog woke up and started screaming in the most mournful dog screams ever heard.  A real low painful howl that crawled up your skin. The dog was in shock and most certainly suffering psychological trauma. This was a good sign.  It showed the dog was reviving and could be saved.  So we took him to the vet.

20 April 2017

The dog came back with an IV in his paw and with a full examination done. The vet said there was evidence of broken bones in the dog's front shoulder but that the bones had healed. He also said the dog was severely dehydrated but that he was going to survive.

21 April 2017
21 April 2017

The difference between this picture and the very first picture is not so remarkable as might be imagined.  In the first picture, when I found the dog, he looks like he is hairless.  But he is not.  He is just wet. Someone tossed water on the dog to cool him off.  This means that the dog was likely placed on the side of the road and left to die. That is incredibly cruel.

The dog stayed in this condition with the IV in his arm for a few days gradually regaining his appetite and his strength.  Throughout the night the dog would emit the most dolorous howls because of the IV and the psychological trauma.

Eight days later the IV had been removed and the dog was able to sit up and eat normally.

29 April 2017
You can see the shock in this dog's blank thousand-yard stare.  He is back from the precipice of death.  He has seen and experienced things no dog should ever see or experience.

His legs were not very stable and he was still weakened from the being dehydrated but it was necessary to get him fully rehabilitated so we placed him a large open area where he could test his legs.

29 April 2017
Fast forward to May 11 and you can see that the dog is fully recovered from his ordeal.  His coat is colourful and he is walking around sniffing and exploring his new home. He even has a brand new collar.

11 May 2017

11 May 2017 
11 May 2017

I do not know for sure who this dog belongs to but I do have a very good idea. This dog will not be going back to them.  He does not deserve to be placed back in a home that will neglect him.

While this puppy has gotten a second chance at life many dogs are not so lucky.

Stray dogs roaming through neighbourhoods eating trash, spreading trash all over the roads, biting children, pooping everywhere, unrestrictedly mating, barking and disturbing the neighbourhood, is huge problem in the Philippines.  What's needed in the Philippines to curb the stray dog problem is the same kind of public awareness programs as in the West.  Dogs need to be neutered and spayed. Dogs need to be kept inside fences and fences need to be patched up and strong enough to contain a dog.  A flimsy fence that a dog can easily knock down endangers both the dog and the community.

The stray dog problem is solvable.  It starts with proper pet ownership.

For more information on proper pet ownership please contact the Philippine Animal Welfare Society.

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