Sat, 6 Sept '08 - The afternoon started out pleasantly and lazily. We had gotten together today as a group to take an opportunity to sit down, unwind and get to know each other better and to chat about dogs and cats.
Later in the evening around 9pm, a call was received informing us of an injured puppy at an industrial area. Living on a construction site, she had gotten herself into an accident. To how bad an extent we did not know. But we knew one thing. How could we deny a call to help an innocent puppy?
It was pouring when we left. Journeying along the expressway and thinking silently to ourselves wondering whether it was still possible to help the puppy in this sort of weather. Moreover, we had to go looking for it as its location was unknown! Lo and behold, by the time we reached the industrial estate, there was not a single drop of rain to hinder us. I guess God was on our side too!
Driving into the construction site, there were only the car's headlights to guide our path. Finding a place to park, we got off and armed ourselves with torch lights. It was dark and there was a rotten stench in the air. Combing the area, we finally heard a faint whimper coming from beneath a huge pile of heavy and rusty metal pipes. After a brief search, we finally located the dog's position amidst the messy pile.
The puppy trapped amidst the heavy metal beams. How did she get there?
Shining the torchlight to illuminate the area, we gasped in horror. We saw that the poor puppy's hind legs were bent at an extremely bad angle. Extracting her would be a difficult task. Although we have no idea how an injured dog managed to drag herself through the debris of pipes, there was certainly no way through for us humans.
The Puppy's hind legs were fractured and bent at an awkward angle
The puppy looked no more than 4 months of age and we knew that it would be a challenge to rescue her. Each time we tried to grab and pull her out, she would yelp in pain and move deeper into the metal pile, making it harder for both parties. We then stopped trying to take her out and decided to slowly shift away the heavy pipes instead. Images of the Nicoll Highway bridge collapse flashed in our minds. This situation was almost a mirror image, just smaller in scale yet equally as terrifying. Volunteers discussing the best way to navigate the metal beams without further endangering the puppy
Without the use of machinery, we had to rely on manpower to slowly remove pipe by pipe. One wrong move could cost the poor puppy her life, or even cause a serious injury to ourselves. The rusty and exceptionally heavy pipes were navigated one by one, as if playing Jenga or Pick up sticks – making sure that we didn't make a wrong move that would cause the entire pile to roll and crush her. We heaved, pulled, pushed, dragged and lifted almost 15 pipes in total. Before long, everyone had their hands grimy and were drenched in perspiration, but the thought of the suffering puppy kept us going.
It took the strength of 6 to carefully shift 15 heavy metal beams
Finally after 2 hours, we cleared a way to safely extract her without endangering her. However, the pain seemed to be unbearable for her. She tried to bite anyone who made an attempt to catch hold of her. A plan was then hatched to lightly lasso her lightly around the mouth. It was then we ran into another barrier. Her body was wedged between a steel bar and a huge round pipe. Thinking quickly, we immediately looked for smaller bars to create a lever to lift the huge and unstable steel frame. However, we only had once chance to do it, and we had to do it right.
After 2 hours, we were still shifting metal beams whilst Puppy was still trapped beneath
As a group, we held our breaths as two people lifted the pipes and two others stood by to grab the dog immediately. There was only one chance to do so, because if the shaky frame came loose, it would mean that the dog would be absolutely crushed. Thankfully, in unison, everyone did what they were tasked to do. After almost 2 and a half hours, she was finally free!
Shaun (in orange) - jacking up metal beam
Rachel - holding flashlight
Lynda - with towel getting ready to grab the dog
Jared - (in blue) - jacking up metal beams on the other side
Ruth - holding other flashlight and directing from opposite side
Turning her head and trying to snap at us, we immediately covered her head with a towel and bundled her quickly into the pet carrier. She calmed the moment she was inside the carrier and stared at us with doleful eyes, as if understanding we were there to help.
Volunteers putting the injured puppy into a pet carrier
It was way past midnight when we called Mount Pleasant at Whitley and rushed there. In the car, the name Ziggy was decided for her. During the entire journey, she sat quietly in the pet carrier, watching us with alert eyes. Even in the carrier we could see her legs bent in an awkward position and she couldn't move them. We deduced that she had been afraid and in so much pain she crawled underneath the pipes to hide. Should we have come only in the morning, she may not have made it through the night as the Vet later told her that she was extremely dehydrated.
Lying on table - Little Ziggy waiting patiently for the Vet to examine her
Unfortunately, we are sad to say that though much effort was put in, she didn't make it through the night. X-rays revealed that the accident had crushed her lungs, fractured her hind legs and broken almost every bone in the pelvic area. Even if she had managed to pull through, she wouldn't be able to enjoy her life fully. Most of the nerves in the lower part of the body were unresponsive by the time we had rescued her. Even if she did survive, having no control of her muscles from waist down would cause her to be a painful cripple her entire life. We believe that all dogs are meant to run free and not suffer such a painful predicament.
Badly bruised abdomen revealing her internal bleeding - possibly caused by the vehicle that struck her
Xray results revealed many fragmented bones in her pelvic area
Our hearts went out to her and it was how we ended the night. It was an experience that has been etched in our minds since. Although it just was a few hours of being with little Ziggy, her courage and strength was both admirable and stirring.
Regardless, Ziggy has touched the deep recesses of our hearts. Our prayers will definitely be with her – forever and always. As for all of us new and young volunteers involved in the rescue, I think its something we all will remember for a long time to come. I know I will. Little Ziggy, wherever you are now, rest assured you’ll never be forgotten.
You're always in our prayers . . . . . .
If it should be that I grow weak, then you must do what must be done,
for we know this last battle can't be won.
You will be sad, I understand, but don't let grief then stay your hand.
What is to come can hold no fears. Would you want me to suffer?
So, when the time comes, please let me go.
Take me where my needs they'll tend, only stay with me until the end,
and hold me firm and speak to me, until my eyes no longer see.
It is a kindness that you do to me, although my tail it's last has waved,
from pain and suffering I have been saved.
Do not grieve, it should be you, who must decide this thing to do.
Don't let your heart hold any tears.
Importance of Sterilisation
Time and again we remind people the importance of sterilization. An experience such as this is heart-wrenching for the puppy and us, as we were unable to save the puppy. They have no control of how they are brought into this world and are barely able to survive the tough conditions of living in an industrial estate. It is through no fault of theirs and it is our duty to help them however we can. There is only so much we can do, but we hope that our words will be taken seriously, even if it is just by a few people to start with. Every little bit helps.
Story written by Rachel
Thank you to the other 4 volunteers: Shaun, Ruth, Jared, Fiona and Lynda for helping little Ziggy. Not to forget, we would also like to thank Dr Kasey Tan of Mt Pleasant for seeing her after midnight.
If you would like to help little Ziggy and her siblings, please stay tuned to our blog. Come this Thursday – we will be sharing you can help us make a difference in their lives.
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