Monday, June 14

A face to launch hearts?

On Wednesday June 9th, the VSPCA received an emergency SOS report of a dog hit by a car in town. The family who called the shelter reported that the little dog had managed to crawl across the road to their house. They took her to a local veterinarian who told them nothing could be done. This answer was not good enough and the family telephoned VSPCA.

It was only my second day at the shelter but I was invited to ride in the Animal Ambulance to pick up the little dog. I was afraid of going, afraid the animal we were picking up might be in severe distress, afraid I would be upset by what I saw; but I also knew these were selfish fears. And so I went.

Imagine my surprise when we picked up a sweet little puppy, barely 5 weeks old!
She was not bleeding, nor crying in pain. Though her back legs dangled and her spine was obviously injured, she exhibited no other signs of injury at all. She was too small to ride in one of the ambulance crates, so the shelter workers put her on my lap for the car ride. Within moments, our mutual fears subsided and she gave me sweet kisses. She seemed comfortable and very happy to be riding with us!
As I looked at her I wondered, would this be a story of tragedy? Or of joyful recovery? Is this one of those instances where all we can do is reduce suffering, rather than save the life? She showed none of these concerns. In her eyes were hope and trust. The compassion I felt for this little creature was overwhelming.

When we arrived at the VSPCA, she was whisked away to the vet’s office and I was left to wait out front with the ambulance. Here she is being carried to the operating room:
The man who does all the emergency driving for VSPCA is Srinu, pictured here proudly with one of the ambulances:
The vets immediately began a series of treatments. The primary of these is intended to stimulate the damaged nerves in her lower spine. They also began giving her vitamins, especially Vitamin B, as well as nourishing supplements to give her strength.

In the few days that have passed since her rescue, we have given her a name: Maria. She has been eating very well. I spend several hours every day with her. I give her a bath and feed her and play with her. When I come to greet her, she is so excited and wants to be picked up and loved and snuggled. I hold her close to my face and she rubs the top of her head against my hair and chin. She makes sweet little clucking noises when she sees me, the sounds of a happy puppy!

Maria is extremely curious. The vet describes her as "energetic." Here she is contemplating what to do with my orange sunglasses!
Like any normal puppy, she opts to chew on them!
Here she is looking very proud of herself!!
Maria is fascinated by all the sounds of the shelter and she enjoys looking out and seeing all the other dogs. When they come near her, she barks a very cute little bark!
It has been several days now and Maria still cannot use her hind legs. The injury to her spinal column is severe. The vet has told me that in treating approximately 30 dogs with similar injuries, only 2 have recovered (one is Jessie, whose happy story is told in a previous post: “Already in love at the VSPCA.”) Maria walks using only her front legs. She drags her lower body on the floor. One of the problems this creates is that she is bruising her back knees and the tops of her back feet because they are always dragging on the ground.
In the following pictures, Maria is figuring out what to do with a piece of bread. Her knees and feet are already showing the wounds from being dragged behind her:
She is a good eater and especially enjoys the bread broken up into her special and tasty liquid supplement:
 After eating, gentle sleep...
Maria is a “special needs” animal. The VSPCA vets and staff are doing all they can for her but it is unlikely she will ever walk normally. She needs a small set of wheels for her back body and then will need a bigger set of wheels when she grows up.

She is a playful, loving little girl who embodies the work and accomplishments of the VSPCA. Even if she does not fully recover, her life is filled with kindness now. She is having healthy meals and attentive care, which is more than she would get anywhere else. Were it not for the VSPCA rescue program, she would be looking at one outcome: suffering and dying, probably on the side of the road. Now she has a chance at a joyful life. She is such a happy little girl!

Maria does need funding for her specialized care. If anyone is willing to make a donation for her recovery, please go to and make a donation in her name or a general donation to help the VSPCA carry on this wonderful work.

Also, if anyone has been so moved by Maria's story and would think about adopting her, I will do what it takes to bring her home and transport her anywhere within the US or Canada. Maria would love a caring human to adopt her!! Please email me directly at:

Maria thanks you sweetly!


snehakoilada said...

Such a sweet little thing :(

Beyond said...


Eileen Weintraub said...

Saving the world one pup at a time!

Unknown said...

What a blessed little puppy! I have seen a few dogs that use a wheel device strapped to their body that allow them to walk with their front legs and have the wheels take the place of hind legs support.

Abigail said...

Thank you for your responses everyone! Yes, here is how I feel about Maria: "You can't save every dog in the world, but for every dog you save you change that dog's world."

Unknown said...

Oh my word, that breaks my heart. What a sweet little chap...

Deeps said...

was baby Maria able to find a home in the end?

Heather W. said...

So Sweet!!!
I hope she finds a good home soon!!

samhitharuth said...

such a sweet pup, hope she finds a good home.