A small pup named Dexter has survived the unthinkable with the help of his dedicated caregivers. Not only was he subjected to heartbreaking abuse at just four weeks of age, but he developed a deadly infection after the ordeal.
The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust is a charity that cares for the many animals of their rural Gambian community. They’ve seen it all in terms of complicated health issues, but Dexter’s case was especially upsetting.
A man named Babucarr was enjoying a day spent at the beach when he stumbled upon a gut-wrenching situation. In front of him was a group of kids abusing a defenseless puppy, throwing him in the sand as if he meant nothing.
Babucarr couldn’t stand the thought of this puppy suffering any longer, so he immediately intervened and rescued the pup from their grasp. After getting him home and assessing the situation, he realized that the children had also cut off his tail.
Babucarr intended to nurse the pup back to health and keep him as his own, but things quickly changed when the puppy began to go stiff. The tiny pup was almost completely rigid, so he knew he had to seek help with the Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust.
From the moment the pup arrived at the center, a registered vet nurse named Emily realized just how serious of a situation this was. It was clear that the puppy contracted a bacterial infection known as Tetanus when he sustained the wound to his tail, and he was not going to make it much longer without aggressive care.
The team was initially unsure whether to proceed, as the fragile pup had already been through so much suffering. It was then that Emily made the decision to give the pup a shot at life, even though his chances at survival were so low.
At this point, the puppy was completely rigid from head to toe, and his jaw was clenched entirely. Emily lovingly named him Dexter, and the pair began the grueling journey to recovery!
The first few nights of Dexter’s care involved administering fluids under his skin, antibiotic therapy, maintaining his body temperature with warm cloths, pain control, syringe feedings, warm baths, and even red light therapy.
The risk of aspirating his food with his clenched jaw was incredibly high, so Emily had to be precise with every move she made. A few setbacks along the way had Emily discouraged, but somehow, Dexter began to improve.
About a week after his care was implemented, Dexter finally developed some laxity in his limbs. Emily could now perform range of motion exercises to loosen his muscles and offer warm hydrotherapy baths. She also created a cotton bag with leg holes that would allow him to “stand” upright and soak in the view of their garden.
“He liked the change of scenery when I hung him on the front door with a view of the garden.” – Emily, RVN
As the days went on, Dexter gained more and more strength in his tiny limbs. He relied on the support from tiny popsicle stick bandages as he finally began to roam, but soon his once rigid muscles began to work in his favor. Just over three weeks after he made his way to the center in such a desperate state, he began to bounce around with ease.
Dexter is now almost fully recovered, and the man who originally brought him into the charity is interested in offering him a forever home. The road to recovery was grueling and winding for this tiny pup, but it’s clear that he had the will to survive.
We are so impressed by Emily’s fierce dedication to her work and thankful for the team’s willingness to give Dexter a chance. We are certain that he has a beautiful life ahead!
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