When one South African 13-year-old boy found a skinny stray dog, he tried to do everything he could to help her even though he and his family barely had enough food themselves.
The boy, who is from one of the poorest areas in Cape Town, tried giving the weak puppy food and water, but she wouldn’t eat anything. Then he noticed the puppy was having bloody diarrhea, and he knew her problem was more serious and her care would cost more than his family could afford.
However, the kindhearted boy refused to give up, so with the puppy in his arms, he walked two miles to a neighboring community where Dinielle Stöckigt, Rosie Kunneke, and Clarina Hanekom host outreach days every other Sunday with their organization, Tin Can Town, which offers free vital veterinary care, advice, and food to local dogs and cats.
“She was very thin and the boy told us he didn’t have enough money for food for her,” Stöckigt said. “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 volunteer vet could tell the puppy, who they named Nanuk, needed to be properly examined, so she rushed her to the Sunset Beach Veterinary Clinic, where she and a fellow vet discovered Nanuk had parvovirus, a highly contagious and deadly disease that breaks down a dog’s intestinal lining.
The team immediately started treating Nanuk but needed her to eat food to gain strength that would be needed to fight the virus. “We would cook her a buffet of food types, and try and entice her to eat,” Stöckigt said. “But she wouldn’t.” And even after getting a feeding tube, Nanuk only lost more weight. “The two vets alerted us that if she does not show a remarkable improvement in the next 24 hours, they will have to help her over to the rainbow bridge [put her to sleep].”
“We took turns sitting in her hospital bed with her, giving her pep talks and telling her that she must fight, and that a beautiful life awaited her,” Stöckigt said. To try and cheer Nanuk up, the brought her kittens to cuddle with since cats can’t get parvo. “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.” The plan worked exactly as they hoped. After spending some time with the kittens, Nanuk ate all her food and miraculously kept it all down. “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.”
Nanuk is now looking for her forever family and is healing every day as she waits. “She is currently being fostered by her vet, and is doing better and better everyday,” Stöckigt said. “Nanuk is playful little girl who loves cuddles, especially if you kiss her tummy. She has this cute way of covering her eyes with her boxer-long legs when she gets excited about the cuddles.”
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[Featured image: Tin Can Town]