Monday, December 28, 2009

Kiro the Hero

This should be the most unforgettable day ever for Kiro, my 1st family dog. A late afternoon email from Lynda broke the silence of a peaceful day, as I was notified that September has been hospitalized. Before long, a frenzy of activities took place. September was found to be hemophilic (See, which explains why he bled non-stop after he was microchipped. This will normally not happen even though September and his siblings were microchipped at a young age so that the vet could track their records. With 7 identical puppies, we had a problem identifying them therefore microchipping will help everyone.

I called my sister Ester and told her to prepare my 2nd family dog Kori (Kori is actually under my charge while my sister takes care of Kiro) as I rushed home to fetch her to Mt Pleasant at Stevens Road. Before I hung up, I told Ester that we might as well bring Kiro along for a car ride so we had another dog to test for for suitability of blood donation.

When I reached the hospital, I went to take a look at September, and my heart sank at the lifeless state he was in. He did not respond to his caregivers and he just lay motionlessly there, his tiny heart pumping strenuously.

Blood samples were drawn from both Kiro and Kori and amazingly, both of them turned out to be suitable donors, alongside with Mei Mei. Kiro was the vet's first choice as he was the heaviest among the three, plus both Kori and Mei Mei were both on the timid side.

Kiro was brought into the clinic and had to be placed on a surgical table. A muzzle was placed on him but he was still excitedly wagging his tail, absorbing all the attention, unaware of what was in store for him. The vet shaved the fur off his neck and Ester held him down firmly while Dr Leslie Teo inserted the needle into his blood vessel.

I could see that Kiro was in pain when the needle was inserted into him, but he stood tall and firm. Perhaps he knew that this little bit of pain was nothing in comparison to what September was going through, or perhaps he did not understand a single bit of what was happening as everything went too fast but all he knew was, he had to be a brave boy. Meanwhile, Dr Cheryl Ho was monitoring the blood flow into the bag.

After the first bag of blood was drawn, the vets had a discussion and decided to take a second bag of blood just in case little September needs it. By then, Kiro was pretty nervous and unsettled. The vets decided to give him some sedative to calm him down so that it will be easier for the second round of blood drawing.

The blood that saved September's life

Both Dr Leslie Teo and Dr Cheryl Ho helped to hold Kiro down while the lab technician shaved the other side of his neck and started to draw blood for the second time. Ester was always within Kiro’s sight, to let him know that everything would be all right, comforting and encouraging him. Seeing Kiro cringe and ejecting his anal sac for the first time due to fright was heartbreaking. He is usually a very confident dog, an alpha male. Dr Leslie Teo kept talking to Kiro and stroking his ears, to comfort him and reassure him that everything will be over soon.

Kiro was offered some yummy canned food after the entire procedure but he did not want to eat – he only wanted to leave the clinic as soon as possible. Once outside, he was really glad and relived to see Kori who was waiting for him near the car. Ester was close to tears seeing the terrified state he was in, but also extremely proud that Kiro had helped to save a life.

We all kept our fingers crossed as Kiro’s blood flowed into little September slowly and steadily. It was getting late, and we all had to go home. With a heavy heart, I whispered goodbye to September and urged him to fight hard and strong, and emerge a survivor.

September is definitely not one of his mommy's first litter, she had given birth several times before him and his siblings. What happened to the other puppies? We can only hope they are happier in doggy heaven now. September's mommy initially had one surviving daughter from her previous litters but she too, died from kidney failure a few months back.

Mongrels are known to be hardy, and we were surprised September has this blood disorder. Alike human beings, this hemophilic condition only affects males, although females can become carriers. Some of our caregivers have been trying their best to catch hold of September’s mommy to sterilize her, so that she will not have to go through pregnancy and labour again, and more importantly, will not produce another lot of puppies who have to suffer like what September did. However, September's mommy is very wary of human beings, and we are still working hard to get her sterilized.

September’s three other siblings which we did not manage to rescue in time, could also have suffered from this same disorder. Were they actually crushed to death like what we saw or did they actually bleed to their death slowly?

We will never know. Too many strays have lived, and died, unknowingly. Noah’s Ark would like to put an end to their suffering, and we need your support. We have been, and are still trying our best, to keep the stray population under control through active sterilization. Help us to help them.

*Article and photos contributed by Ruth Lim

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