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More family dogs saved

Wednesday and we’d earlier received seven more calls on the hotline and then found ourselves standing in the middle of another 22 dogs surrendered in Dujiangyiang.

As bedlam ruled with Heather, Judy and Christine continuing with vaccinations, health checks, registering and labelling, Christie, Rainbow and Suki made sure things ran smoothly, took photographs, and reassured the dog owners that all would be well with their pets.

Toby had taken some time away from managing our bear sanctuary and dealing with government work and happily weighed in lifting heavy cages with our bear worker Pan Qi and driver Li He.

For some reason I felt drawn to go back to the pet market area where we were on Sunday as I just had a feeling “something” was there. On arrival with vet Heather, volunteer Judy and Rainbow, the “something” was a caged rough-haired collie dying of distemper in the street. Such a gentle dog but so, so sick and so calm too as Judy carefully eased him from his cage – even for a few seconds slowly wagging his tail.

I called Christie and asked her if she’d like to give him a name and she chose “Wish” to reflect her own wish that the suffering of people and animals would end soon. Heather gently inserted the needle and we all stroked him and whispered words of love and goodbye.

Rushing back to the station, we were grateful that Fiona and Callais from the Hong Kong SPCA had joined us for the day. They had already given us medication and veterinary supplies and here they were now getting to grips with another influx of dogs in our absence and doing a fabulous job.

A woman with the most beautiful large Tibetan breed of dog was beside herself with grief. She told us that her dog was “number one” in her life and that everyone at her home, now destroyed, knew this. Talking through great gulps of sobbing, she told us that he meant everything to her and she felt so bad walking away. “He won't eat,” she said. “He knows I’m leaving him soon.” As if to prove her right, this beautiful dog with melting brown eyes turned his head away from the treat in her hand.

Behind her, a man with a heavily pregnant miniature pinscher told us that his dog had been straining now for five days past her due date and Heather wasted no time in preparing another car so that she and Judy could return to the sanctuary and perform an emergency caesarian section. Within seconds of this, another pregnant dog was registered and now they had two bitches needing urgent surgery as soon as they returned.

This had been some afternoon, but it wasn’t over yet! As Heather and Judy sped away with their patients, the rest of the team loaded the remaining 20 dogs onto the truck and headed off towards Qiao Na’s rescue centre. Qiao Na’s brother, Qiao Wei, had been working virtually non-stop since we’d seen him two days before and had now secured more rooms where dogs and cats could be housed more safely.

Settling in the new dogs with food and water and checking on the ones we’d brought over two days before, I could see again that space was getting tight. Within the next few days, Qiao Wei will be clearing the land for the two new enclosures and we can now send in our construction managers to help design and build.

Finally returning to the hospital around 8pm, I called in on Heather and there she was with vet nurse Hayley stitching up the little pinscher following a surgery that had literally saved her life - the pups were all dead and would have killed her too had she not been found in time. Both bitches pulled through that night and will be taken to Qiao Na’s once their wounds have healed.

A little old pom with his lower jaw missing, rotten to the bone, was not so lucky and was gently euthanised when we realised he had no quality of life. This was one of the pet shop dogs we’d rescued on the previous Sunday and had been a breeding machine all of his life. How sad that he had never had a family that had loved him for himself rather than for how valuable he was as a stud.

Wandering back to my room at least I smiled hearing Hayley in the distance moaning good naturedly about Rubble (pictured above as we found him; and below shaved and bathed with Christie, Rainbow and Hayley). Now with a belly full of food and a character showing none of his previous fear, he was behaving like a typical Yorkie with attitude. “He’s bullying the others,” she laughingly complained. “You’d think he’d be grateful.”

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