Thursday, 22 March 2012

Nano the calf hitches a lift to safety

Hello, hello

Here’s a story of a tiny white calf just a few hours old that was spotted by two local youths in one of the outlying villages.

She was crying piteously and roaming around obviously calling for her mother. This continued for some time and the calf was in a state of panic and would have soon encountered danger, so the kind young men felt they must try to help her. Much of the culture here in India is of the belief that the cow is a creature to be revered and protected – luckily for the calf!

They toured around the locality with the crying baby sitting between them on their scooter and all the time she cried out for her mum. The boys offered her to every cow they encountered on their three hour quest but none was the mother.

Worried as to what to do next, they went to the house of a lady in the neighbourhood who they knew always looked out for any animal in need of help. Luckily this lady is actively involved with animal welfare and has a long association with IAR.

Dusk was falling so for the calf's overnight safety she was settled into the confined security of a bathroom where a bed was made for her and she was fed milk from a syringe. Early next morning it was evident that if she was to survive much longer the calf must get to Animal Tracks where the staff have had experience with small orphaned cattle. But the long journey would have been arduous on a scooter so the baby was gently cradled in the back of a tiny Tata Nano car borrowed for the journey.

On arrival there the tiny calf was warmly greeted by all of us animals and humans alike and every possible measure was taken to ensure she was kept warm and bottle fed enough milk to sustain her.

But, whilst she relished all the attention and affection, the little calf missed her mother so much that we all feared the worst: despite staff and volunteers cuddling and feeding her, she was still not doing too well.

Within animal welfare groups there is a great camaraderie and through friends Animal Tracks knew of a goshala, a sanctuary where cattle can live and grow in a peaceful, natural environment, and where orphaned calves are successfully raised. And maybe there would be a resident cow that would prove a suitable surrogate mum for the youngster. The goshala agreed to take Nano, Animal Tracks staff escorted her on the journey, but this time not on the rear seat of a tiny car but in one of the IAR animal ambulances.

We are all exceptionally pleased and very relieved to report that Nano is thriving and is clearly happy and healthy in her new home. She will remain there permanently in the safety of the sanctuary and maybe one day will help nurture casualties and orphans such as herself who may come to need a bit of love, kindness and a helping hoof!

That’s it for now – until next time ...!

Love Olive x

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Sally's fall from grace

Hello my friends

Here’s a cautionary tale if ever there was one!

It's not just stray and wild animals that come to Animal Tracks, we also have a busy outpatients department where the public can bring their pets and domestic animals for the full spectrum of treatments, vaccinations and of course sterilisation.

Sally a beloved pet came in to the centre after sustaining an injury to a front leg in mystery freak accident. Renowned as an adventurer, Sally has even been known to climb trees and scale high walls so her owners are quite used to her getting into trouble. But this time she'd hurt herself badly.

After examination and X ray it was found that Sally had a really severe fracture to her leg and there would be no option but for her to undergo major reconstructive surgery.

Led by IAR's expert orthopaedic surgeon Nikhil, the operation took more than three hours as he painstakingly repositioned the broken bones using external pinning. Sally and numerous other animals are really fortunate to be treated at Animal Tracks as this advanced and complex surgery is not widely available.

Then came the long recovery process whereby Sally had to be contained despite her natural desire and instinct to be out and about exploring. Not an easy task for her owners knowing she would still try to get into mischief despite her leg being shrouded in metal pins!

But Sally seemed to understand that custody was necessary in order for her to heal and she got used to sitting around  in the safety of the house and not going on her daily walks and joining in the fun with the other household dogs.

After a few weeks she returned to the centre and further X rays showed that the bone was mending well and a couple of the six pins were able to be removed in a second slow and intricate operation. Then more weeks of rest and healing before the final surgery to remove the remaining steel frame and pins.

Many weeks later and still under special care and observation Sally continues to recover but is probably already planning her next adventure. Let's hope she's learnt from this experience that, although she's agile, unlike cats, dogs do tend to come down to earth with a bit of a bump!

Love Olive x

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Madame Muriel

Hello dear friends,

Life for an abandoned pet is always hard but here in the tropical climate ‘breed’ dogs have a particularly difficult time.

Muriel is a Pomeranian Spitz
We local dogs have developed and adapted to be of a more robust constitution, enabling us to survive and thrive even with minimum assistance from mankind - although here in Goa IAR's vaccination and spaying programme has helped thousands of strays to have a viable existence.

Sadly discarded breed dogs do not usually fare so well physically or mentally. Muriel, of Pomeranian/Spitz ancestry, was one such dog and she found herself cast out and alone just before Christmas last year. Luckily Muriel arrived at Animal Tracks in the nick of time: she was very sad and desolate and obviously could not comprehend how her life had changed from being someone's companion to becoming another unwanted statistic. Muriel was probably cast aside because she had developed a chronic skin condition that could easily have been controlled with the minimum of care and expense, but it was not to be.

Muriel was suffering from a skin condition
By the time poor Muriel found her way to IAR her condition was very poor and her spirits low. But with the veterinary expertise on hand and loving care from all the staff and a handful of volunteers – not to mention the concerned attention of her new canine friends - help was at hand.

But Muriel was still desperately unhappy and, as a lady who'd always been able to rely on her looks, she now looked so bedraggled that the chances of her being adopted seemed slim. So once again IAR supporter and dog lover Fionna stepped in and took Muriel to her home to recover with her large happy pack of mainly temporary foster dogs. “Half way" houses such as Fionna's are invaluable to IAR and the animals. Without them scores of abandoned dogs and cats would not have been able to be successfully re-established into permanent loving homes.

Muriel looking so much happier!
As the weeks progressed Muriel settled and her glamorous coat was restored to its former glory thanks to a safe environment, much loving care, good nutrition and medication.

Although in good health once more, there was always a sadness about Muriel and she was always a little apart and aloof from her housemates and walked around with a tragic air that resembled a French Madame who had once been pampered and used to all the finer things in life but whose tragic circumstances had led to her decline in status.

But a solution was on hand and Fionna heard of a lovely local lady who had experience with the Pomeranian Spitz breed that Muriel belongs to. When Meera heard of Muriel's situation she decided to meet her with a view to adoption if the two of them hit it off.

Muriel and Meera
The moment that Muriel first saw Meera there was a complete transformation in her demeanour and if there was ever any doubt that a dog can smile, check out Muriel's grin in the "after" photographs... it's proof that they can!

The two ladies bonded instantly and finally that brilliant lustrous fan of Pom/Spitz tail began to wag with uncontrollable joie de vivre and has not stopped since. We were all so happy at the centre to be able to bid Muriel “Au revoir” and “Bonne chance”- she deserves it!

That’s all for now!

Olive x