In Cape Town, South Africa, a boy who was scared for the health of his puppy, walked two miles to find help. Would they be able to save her?
The 13-year-old boy lives in the town of Delft, which is a poor, under-developed community where gang violence runs rampant. In another poor neighboring town called Blikkiesdorp, thanks to three South African women, Stöckigt, Rosie Kunneke and Clarina Hanekom, animals are getting some much needed care. The three woman started an organization called Tin Can Town, that offers free medical services and an invaluable spay and neuter program.
In Delft, two miles away from Blikkiesdorp, the boy tried to nurse his puppy back to health but his puppy only got worse. She began having bloody diarrhea and could hardly lift her head up. To get his puppy help, he had to walk two miles to Tin Can Town. And he did!
By the time the puppy arrived to Tin Can Town, she was in bad shape. “She was very thin and the boy told us he didn’t have enough money for food for her,” Stöckigt told The Dodo. “We told him we would do our best to save her life, and find her a new loving home that can take care of her. We thanked him for bringing her to us for help.”
A veterinarian, named Dr. Rozanne Visser, with Tin Can Town, suggested they rush the puppy to Sunset Beach Veterinary Clinic. They gave the puppy a new name, Nanuk.
It turned out Nanuk had parvo virus, a very serious illness that can be deadly without immediate treatment. It causes vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of appetite. As the symptoms progress, it can be quite scary! Thanks to modern medicine, dogs can be vaccinated for the parvo virus but in places like the under-developed communities in Cape Town, vaccinations aren’t so easy to come by.
Now with a new name and a fighting chance, the medical team got to work on Nanuk. They gave her I.V. fluids and a place to rest. But things remained bleak for the sick pup. She couldn’t eat. I.V. hydration is not a substitute for a real diet. Even with an assortment of food, Nanuk had no luck. She couldn’t keep any of it down! They had no choice but to give her a feeding tube.
Nanuk, now down to eight pounds, was fading fast! The team had to prepare for the worst. If she didn’t show improvement soon, the vets would have to do the humane thing and euthanize her. Kunneke and Stöckigt were devastated! They sat with Nanuk, never leaving her side, never emotionally giving up on the tiny puppy.
Parvo cannot be passed to cats so the clinic brought in foster cats to keep Nanuk company. “There was a sparkle in her eyes when the kittens came to visit. Although she was very sick and weak on that day, she still lifted her head to sniff and cuddle with them,” Stöckigt said.
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Then, something miraculous happened! On the sixth day, Nanuk ate a small meal and was able to keep it down. Things were looking up and it was evident that this little pup had the will to live!
“I think it is a combination of the kittens, having one of us by her side the whole time giving her love and encouragement, and of course her amazing courage and will to live,” Stöckigt said.
The little pup with a big fighting spirit began to recover, thanks to people who believed in her.
She remains in her foster home, unable to find her forever family just yet. But everyone knows that Nanuk won’t ever give up on having a healthy AND happy life— thanks to the boy who would have walked as far as he had to, to save her!
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