We get quite a few calls about injured dogs and cats during any week, everything from broken legs and car accidents to cuts and injuries from stones or fights.
A few weeks ago, we had a call from one of the volunteers that one of her watched dogs had a very nasty facial injury and could we help catch her and clean it up. Most of the volunteers have a beat and we all know the dogs in our area, so when one is injured it is particularly upsetting.
We arrived at the site and had to search a while before we saw the dog – she was right under a car in the shade away from all the other dogs. When we saw the extent of the injury we were shocked – half her face was hanging off, covered in sand and blood, and her eye looked very bad too.
The first problem we face with any injured dog is how to catch them without causing more distress. Injured dogs are very scared, will defend themselves and are in pain, so all this and being caught is a recipe for a very upset dog that will almost certainly bite.
We would normally use blankets or towels to just keep them calm, then wrap them and keep them calm, before transfer into a travel box. This dog, Mamma Rosa, was so docile and used to people, I literally just picked her up and put her in the back of the car.
We caught her a few months ago to neuter her and so we knew she was a safe and placid dog and would never bite, most beach dogs are generally chilled out anyway, but Mamma Rosa is a particularly good example.
The wound was hideous, so rather than try to look at it and clean it, we just drove to the vets for immediate attention. Our vet is awesome and soon Mamma Rosa was on the table after a shot of anesthetic to knock her out.
This allowed us to see the extent of the wound which was inflicted by another dog. Luckily, her eye was not damaged, but all her eyelid and the side of her face were very badly damaged. The vet managed to clean out and remove the dead skin, then stitched her back up, making a new eyelid as best as he could.
Aftercare is crucial with all injuries and Mamma Rosa was housed at our house during her recovery. We had to make modifications to the courtyard so our 3 dogs would not worry her, so after constructing our makeshift shelter and enclosure, Mamma settled down for the rest of the day to recover from the anesthetic.
Mamma Rosa with a nasty face injury
Mamma Rosa after surgery
We had to fit a cone on her to stop her scratching the delicate skin and stop her pulling out the stitches, but she did not seem to worry about it at all – she was more worried about the cone. After a few days, she managed to remove the cone completely and was much happier without it.
She was a model patient, no crying or barking, no fighting with our dogs and so we soon removed the shelter and she roamed around the house like she lived here! Millie, our puppy, is very caring and wants to lick everybody, so we just had to make sure she did not hurt Mamma, but life was easy and she soon made herself at home.
After about 10 days, Mamma started to show signs of missing her home and pack, so we removed the stitches, got the all clear from the vet and took her back to Panorama beach and her pack. As soon as we opened the cage, she set off to explore and find her pack, but not without a final cuddle and fuss. We have loved having her with us, but it’s always the plan to return them back to their pack and familiar surroundings.
The care that is required to injured dogs is intensive, even with a model dog like Mamma Rosa. We were up each morning at first light to make sure she would eat, the first few days it was hand feeding, dipping each morsel in fish oil to make sure she ate and making sure she is hydrated as well…we have a bunch of tricks to make this and the drugs we must administer go down.
Vet, drug and care bills total about £200 per incident of this type, so we need donations to pay for this. This is minor in comparison to lots of the injuries and bills easily reach £1000 for surgery, x-rays and ongoing drugs. We rely solely on the kindness and generosity of the public – every penny goes to the dogs and cats we rescue so please help us.
A small monthly subscription is the best way you can help us help them – just a few pounds or euros per month allows us to continue our work and relieve the suffering of dogs who would have a very bleak future otherwise – why not DONATE HERE NOW
Mumma Rosa during her recovery
Mumma Rosa back home on the beach