Street dogs no more
26 May 2014, 15:45PM
This story in the UK's Daily Mail in February of this year saw me returning to the website link time and time again, after being both captivated and astonished with how a two-legged dog (with an undershot jaw) had survived on the streets of China for so many years.
Two-legged stray dog gives birth to four puppies in China
A two-legged stray dog has given birth to a litter of puppies in China - and all of their legs are in full working order. The stray, which was named Si Bao by an owner who later abandoned her, gave birth to four healthy puppies near Kouguan railway station in Datong, Shanxi Province in the north of the country.
Shi Bao was made one of the city's many strays after her owner moved out of the neighbourhood and decided not to take her with him, but became well known locally when she lost her two rear legs after being hit by a speeding train two years ago. Balancing on just her forelegs, Shi Bao nuzzles her puppies lovingly as she takes them for a walk in the area around the train station.
Apparently run over by a train, Si Bao had not only recovered from her trauma, but had even had multiple pups since, and was raising her latest litter with the help and kindness of the local railway staff of the Kouguan railway station in Datong city, Shanxi Province.
Carrot, our wonderful staff member in Guangzhou, immediately began making enquiries, contacting the staff at the station and gaining their permission for us to adopt Si Bao and her pups. Coincidentally, as we discovered, caring people from across the world were also following up the story and offering these two street dogs a home. In particular, Rebecca from Canada, Sissel from Norway, and Karene from the USA were all working together in a network of help which, in a combined effort of all, saw Si Bao and her sickly pups finally being taken in to the loving care of Dr Xue and his team at the Datong Meilian Zhonghe Veterinary Hospital.
Dr Xue and team, Datong Meilian Zhonghe Veterinary Hospital
Tragically, after a long, hard life on the streets, three of Si Bao’s pups eventually passed away of distemper, with the fourth pup beating the odds and surviving.......by a whisker. The legacy of the disease has left her with a permanent neurological problem where she "nods" non stop, but is otherwise, thankfully, now fit and well.
During the time they were cared for by Dr Xue and his staff, we all received regular updates of their progress and were thrilled with the news that Si Bao had a beautiful temperament, and welcomed everyone with a friendly wag of her tail.
Finally well enough to leave Dr Xue's clinic and, as we have a quarantine garden at our bear rescue centre, Sissel, Rebecca and Karene, all happily agreed that both Si Bao and her pup could come to our bear sanctuary in Chengdu.
At that point our brilliant Veterinary Support Manager, Wen Yan, travelled to Datong to fetch Si Bao (whose name means Four Treasures) and her pup Xiao Hua (Little Flower) and they were finally with us on site.
Meeting our new family members at the airport
Since then, they've had multiple staff and volunteers in our vet department caring for them, as they've finished off their quarantine, preventing any disease threat to our bears and other resident dogs and cats. And as you can see from the photo below, taken by Saladin Zhu, there is no shortage of help!
Nat, Emily, Lauren, Wen Yan, Jill, Emily, Vicki and Sarah (Photo by Saladin Zhu, Animals Asia)
Dogs as well as people here in China can have both a Chinese and Western name. So Si Bao was also given an English name of Lelly by none other than UK actress, Lesley Nicol, who plays cook Mrs Patmore in Downton Abbey. Lesley's nickname as a child had been Lelly, and she thought that the name would suit Si Bao too.
The little pup, Xiao Hua, was originally given an English nickname of Faith by Sissel from Norway but, in the hope she doesn't mind, this cutest little girl who has also captured everyone's hearts is now named Muddie. On the surface, not a particularly beautiful name but, after a brainwave by my sister Anne, it also has some sentiment behind it too.
Xiao Hua - Faith, and now nicknamed Muddy
Vet nurse Vicki and I have long commented that Xiao Hua looks like Muppet, one of the two dogs we share. And, now she's maturing, she also reminds me of my beautiful dog of 14 years, Eddie, who died earlier this month and was featured on the blog recently too.
Muppet (Photo by Peter Yuen)
Eddie (Photo by Ali Bullock)
Lelly has just been been spayed by our Vet Eddie and team, and has had her back leg stumps x-rayed too. It's doubtful just now whether she needs a "trolley" at this time as she seems to defy gravity and walk comfortably and well on her two front legs.
As our sanctuary has quite a few resident dogs and cats, Lelly and Muddie's next adventure will be leaving Chengdu in a few weeks, to live permanently with my other four legged family in Hong Kong............and perhaps fill a little of the gap on the floor that Eddie left behind.
With thanks to everyone responsible for helping with these two lucky, beautiful dogs:
Carrot Chen and our China Cat and Dog Welfare team
Sissel Eide Klemmetson of Norway
Rebecca Ashworth Toronto, Canada and The Laika Fund for Street Dogs Karene West, Tennessee, USA
Mr Zhao and Mr Fan, China Mr Huang and Tina, China
Lisa Price and Hand in Hand for Asia’s Activists
Panda Paws Rescue, USA
Angus's Fundraising page for DMT dogs and other animals in need
Wen Yan, Veterinary Support Manager, Chengdu
Our Amazing vet team and volunteers who are looking after her on site - nurses, Wendy, Vicki, and Emily, vets Mandala, Eddie and Jen, and volunteers, Lauren, Nat, Emily and Sarah.