Maria...A Face to Launch Hearts?
From VSPCA India (Visakha Society for Protection
and Care of Animals)
On Wednesday June 9th, 2010 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
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
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
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." She
contemplated what to do with my orange sunglasses! Like any normal puppy, she
opts to chew on them!
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
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.
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:
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 www.HelpAnimalsIndia.org and make a
donation in her name or a general donation to help the VSPCA carry on this
Maria thanks you sweetly!