Thursday, June 14, 2012

Survival of the Fittest

I often see James lingering around the coffeeshop in the area of some factories where I feed strays. He is a big-headed friendly boy who will be one of the first to come forth for food, unlike the girls there who are more shy. Being a territorial alpha male, James often got into fights and ended up with injuries, but for the past few times he recovered with medication. I heard from a few stallholders at the coffeeshop that James used to belong to someone. The “owner” would still visit him in the past but he has not been seen for a long while. Perhaps this “owner” was a factory worker whose premises relocated or that he returned to his country? If only James could tell me more about him.

One of James' previous wounds

I was heading home one weekend evening and happened to go by the coffeeshop area when I saw James strolling slowly along the provision shops. I stopped my car wanting to give him some food but got a rude shock when he turned. There he was with a huge gaping bite wound on his neck that was still dripping with blood. The wound was certainly not a fresh one for it already smelled infected. Come to think of it, I had not seen him for close to two weeks and merely thought he was elsewhere.

After feeding him some food which he feebly gobbled down, I went off to get a carrier and equipment. I also brought along a friend to help and was back at the coffeeshop after night fell. This time James was walking in between tables at the coffeeshop where patrons were dining. The stench from the wound was strong. How could anyone just turn a blind eye to his pain and agony? 

It was a tough struggle attempting to loop James’ neck and force him into the carrier. As usual, the scene attracted a crowd of curious onlookers (which happens pretty often when we attempt to catch dogs). I guess they do not know what we are trying to do and some would even ask if we are the authorities. We would always try to explain to them that we are bringing the dog to the vet either for sterilization or to seek medical attention.

Luck was on our side and we managed to successfully nab him. The lower part of his neck and our leash were all wet with pus from the wound. The side of the carrier that James’ wound had leaned on was as well. Once inside the carrier, James seemed to know that it was futile putting on a struggle further. He actually laid down and he seemed much more exhausted than we were. Tired, hungry, weak and helpless. We could not be more thankful that we successfully accomplished our mission, for without proper medical treatment this time, James would not have survived for long.

The very next day, James was brought to the vet. The vet took a long time to clean his wound – one huge hole plus three smaller holes at the side. His wound was stitched up and a tube was inserted to drain out the pus. He had to go back to the vet in two weeks’ time for the removal of stitches and tube but could meanwhile be discharged.

We thought that was all and that he would slowly be on the road to recovery. It was apparently not so.  As James was sedated at the vet earlier, the fosterer thought he would sleep soundly through the night and thus left him only on a leash. However, in the wee hours of the night, he broke the leash and scaled the wall out! We embarked on a dog-hunt over the next few days and even went back to the coffeeshop area to ask around.

James was by chance sighted at the next lane a few days after and we gave chase both on a bicycle and a car. He finally went weak on his legs and we forcefully surrounded and caught him again. Thinking back now, it must have been a hilarious sight but at the point of time, we were just desperate to do anything to get him back.

Back to the vet James went as his wound got further infected from the unhygienic surroundings he was roaming in for the past few days. This time round, he has to be confined till he fully recovers for we might not be so lucky to get him back again.

James is actually a goofy boy who loves attention. Though he might look a bit intimidating, a rub on his head will have him asking for more, a sight which melts your heart. We urge any interested party looking for a family companion to come forth for adoption. We also hope to get your help to cover his medical expenses so that we can help more dogs like him. Please email us at Thank you.

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