Two dogs picked up within the space of a week show quite clearly not only what rescue associations have to contend with but the barbarity of some people on the island when they wish to get rid of a dog.
The first case involved a boxer bitch which was picked up in the hills above Los Gigantes. She was a staggering skeleton due to dehydration.
The muscles in her hindquarters had been absorbed by her body due to lack of nourishment and an open ulcer was eating into what remained of the flesh.
One week later, though still painfully thin, she has begun to play. Needless to say food is of paramount importance to her. With tender, loving care she will make a full recovery. Dogs found in the same condition as the boxer are not so very unusual but the second case horrified me.
During my time in rescue work on the island I have seen some terrible sights and heard about others but nothing prepared me for a call-out I received on January 28.
A beautiful young male podenco, the Canarian hunting dog, had been found with horrendously infected wounds to his forelegs. His knees had swollen to about three times their normal size, as had his feet. The vet who checked him over was convinced that his front legs had been placed in an overlapping position and tied together, probably with wire. The wounds, he thought, were an absolute minimum of five days old – could be as many as 20.
We can only assume that the dog copied what a fox would do in similar circumstances if trapped in a snare – chew his own legs in order to get free. Two of his tendons have been severed so it remains to be seen how functional his worst leg will be. Two days after he was picked up he managed to put that leg to the ground and took a few steps on it.
This was a deliberate act of brutality and cannot be countenanced. Abandoning an animal to fend for itself, scavenging for any food morsels it can find, is bad enough, but to deliberately attempt to stop it from scavenging for food is beyond my comprehension.
The dog was obviously exhausted, to say nothing of being traumatised by his experience. However, despite the obvious pain he was suffering, he was exceedingly well mannered and only gave one little whimper when the vet manipulated his worst leg to ascertain if it was broken. Fortunately it was not.
His faith in human beings must be more than a little shattered but at no time has he shown any sign of aggression despite his suffering. Understandably he is a little wary of humans but is eating well and taking his medications without protest.
Two days after he was picked up the swelling was beginning to go down and the antibiotics were reducing the infection. He sleeps a lot now that he can relax, which we all know aids recovery. The dog was not chipped so the owner/perpetrator of this crime cannot be denounced. In my book a denuncia and any resulting court decision would be too good for the person concerned.
What I would like to do to them is unprintable!