My New Friend

It’s a bit of a long story…  There is a business called Feduro on my bike route just a short way from my house. When I ride by I always greet the security guard and occasionally stop for a short chat.

Last Sunday, he either pointed out or I noticed a dog with an badly injured foot. There are two stray dogs that the guys at the business kind of take care of, but this dog had been hit by a car the day before. I highly doubt any of the guys would have the resources to take the dog to the vet, and she needed help.  This is behind the business where large trucks are always coming and going, and the street is bumpy and in poor condition so I sure don’t know why anyone would be speeding through here, but according to the guard this is what happened. And, to make things even more complicated, this dog had five puppies that were born on the 19th, so at this point only nine days old.

The vet was closed, so I planned to take the dog to the vet on Monday morning. When I went to get her, she snapped at me and even the guard wasn’t sure if he could get close to her. I went to the vet for advice, and they sold me tranquilizer drops and a muzzle. She loves food though, of course, so she snarfed down the medicated food and while she was eating, the guard managed to grab her by the scruff of the neck and put a rope around her neck, and the muzzle on her face.

We were supposed to wait 30 min for the medication to take effect but she seemed to be doing OK and not fighting us, so I put her in the back seat of the car. I also collected the puppies in a basket in case she needed to stay at the vet for a while.

She was good as gold at the vet, standing patiently while he carefully examined her and her injured foot, which had to have been painful. It turns out she didn’t break any bones, thank goodness. All she did was lose a considerable amount of skin from the top of her foot. Of course this is a significant injury but with his advice and my nursing experience, we could handle this. He gave me vitamins for her (she was anemic, probably from blood loss with the injury), and also a course of antibiotics that shouldn’t be a problem for the puppies. I also had instructions to clean, apply cream, and bandage the wound daily.

It is now Friday. Monday and Tuesday it took the security guard to catch her while she was eating so I could dress her foot. Wednesday he wasn’t working, and she wouldn’t come close even with the food in my hand, but Wednesday evening I did manage to catch her. (I also got her a collar and leash to make things easier). Once you get a leash on her, she is very good and hasn’t snapped at me at all. I think she understands I am trying to help her and after I finished on Wednesday she let me pet her, and she licked my face. I just about melted on the spot!

Thursday and Friday evening I have also managed to catch her with a bit less difficulty each time. I think she is coming to trust me and not see me as a threat, even though I work on her foot which I’m sure is still plenty sore. It is getting better though. The wounds looks clean, and she is starting to grow skin in the mid portion of the wound though the top, and especially the bottom over the foot are large and will take some time. She is also getting to know Joel which is very helpful because he can help me with the dressings while I do the work.

I learned the guys named her Avenita. Here she is with Joel after this evening's care. (pulling off the gauze causes the wound to bleed again, which is why I'm going to hunt for alternatives tomorrow)

I learned the guys named her Avenita. Here she is with Joel after this evening’s care. (pulling off the gauze causes the wound to bleed again, even when I soak it before, which is one reason I’m going to hunt for alternatives tomorrow)

The problems now are –

  • I am leaving on the 22nd. I am going shopping for a different wound product tomorrow, hopefully something more gentle than pulling gauze off every day, and maybe something easier for other people to do and something that doesn’t need to be changed as often. I can’t imagine she will be healed when I leave though, so I’ll have to figure out what to do.
  • She needs to be spayed but we must wait another month. I have enlisted Joel to take her to the vet for this.
  • Those puppies need homes! There are two white, a male and a female, two brown, also a male and a female, and a male mostly black one. Who knows who the father is. The mother seems to have a very good temperament, especially for a street dog not used to being handled. She weighs 11 kilos, so not a very large dog.
Here are the puppies who live under the tractor trailer.

Here are the puppies who live under the tractor trailer. They aren’t big enough to do anything but eat and sleep at this point.

I know, you just never know what I’ll end up getting involved in around here. I just can’t walk on by a suffering animal though, especially when I have the ability to help. And, if we hadn’t gone out to tend to her this evening, we wouldn’t have seen this gorgeous sunset.

Baru, looking beautiful and mysterious through the evening colors

Baru, looking beautiful and mysterious through the evening colors

316sunset2

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, Panama and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to My New Friend

  1. Anonymous says:

    Bless you for taking care of the momma pooch in need, and her pups. Hopefully homes for all of them will be found easily.

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  2. Sunni Morris says:

    Good for you for helping that dog. I’m glad she’s doing better. I’m sure, as resourceful as you are, you’ll figure out something to do with her while you’re off on your trip.

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  3. susie says:

    You are a good person Kris!!! Wish I could help (I volunteer at the shelter here) but not moving to Panama for awhile yet….

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  4. oldsalt1942 says:

    Toughy — that;s how I ended up with the Dirt Dog at the old house. She limped in with a broken leg and after fixing that up and getting her spayed she found a home. Strange thing is the neighborhood became her home. When I moved to La Barriada I brought her with me but she only stayed four days and then disappeared. She found her way back to where I’d been living. Fortunately there are a lot of kids there who always loved her and they take care of her now.

    When I go back to see my old neighbors she comes running to me, jumps around, licks my hands and is genuinely happy to see me, but when I leave she will only go to the end of the road and no farther no matter how much I try to entice her.

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    • I remember dirt dog when she was hurt and was so happy that you took care of her. I think this one can stay where she is with the guys taking care of her, but we don’t need five puppies becoming more street dogs.

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  5. Robert & Helen says:

    I had dogs all my life. Human´s best friends. They always remember people that had them for some time. Kris good job. She looks like one of our 4 Caribbean dogs. A survivor. Our oldest is a rescued stray dog, now14 years old and running like a dog of 3 years old. Unfortunately our 12 years old mixed German Shepherd passed away 2 days ago. We took them with us on a private plane from St. Lucia to Trinidad and then with Copa to Tocumen. We love them, they love us and we have spend the money on them to bring them to Boquete and they love it here. Kris the dog looks like our 14 years old, big nice eyes.

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  6. indacampo says:

    Kris, all those pups and Mama can be sterilized now by the quick method. Perhaps you can enlist someone who is involved with the Boquete animal group to help you?

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  7. Hmmm, sounds like you have yourselves a new pup 🙂 Seriously, you’ve done a great thing in rescuing this sweet dog and looking out for her puppies. There are a couple of resources up here that might be able to help you find homes for them: ARF (Adopt, Rescue, Foster) and a couple named Javier and Magaly who also do rescues and fostering. And I’m sure you know about the Amigos de Animales spay/neuter clinic that’s held up here once a month – David probably has something like it.

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    • Thanks for the tips! I knew there were people in Boquete but never paid attention to who. No, I do not have a new pup. I can’t and don’t want something that needs care, and I think she is fine in her current situation when she is healed. The pups though need to be adopted and taken off the street so I’m really glad to know about the resources you just mentioned. Thank you.

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  8. ME BE in Panama says:

    You are a true kindred spirit Kris, always looking for (and most of the time finding) the silver lining in every cloud.

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  9. Phil Bennett says:

    great work Kris. Hope everything works out well for her and her babies.

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    • I think it will. You just talk to everyone you see and things come forward from places you never expected. I have learned that there is a spay and neuter clinic here on the 19th and she has an appointment. They do it from the side, not the tummy, so it won’t interfere with her nursing. I was instructed to bring the puppies because it might be possible to also find them homes.

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      • indacampo says:

        Yay! I was hoping that you’d find some good resources. I’ve seen several mums be sterilized from the side and then reunited with their pups. And they will all get a health check even if the pups are too little to sterilize. 🙂 High five Nurse Kris!

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        • Thank you, and thank you to the friends who know people who know things. I figure if the pups are too little maybe they can go back the following month, and possibly find homes at the same time.

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  10. Ron says:

    Is there any reasonable fishing guides in your town ? thanks

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    • I’m sorry, I don’t know the first thing about fishing. I know there are some outfits in Boca Chica that take people out. The guys at our favorite fish market in Pedrigal told us once that they would also take people out for a reasonable price, but that conversation was quite a while ago. I could fix you up with a puppy though! 😀

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  11. Betty says:

    Hi Chris, In case you haven’t tried them, Telfa pads work best for wounds as they don’t stick to the wound. Gause is great for wrapping, but as the wound heals it grows into the gauze and gets ripped off when the gauze is removed. Any pharmacy should have Telfa, maybe in different sizes. Hope this helps. Have a great time on your new adventure!

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    • Thanks! Wound care was my specialty when I was a nurse, and there are a lot of great wound care products out there. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything but tegaderm at the pharmacy (like saran wrap with sticky edges, not good for furry legs). Right now we are using a cream from the vet that I think is equivalent to silvadine. I used one piece of gauze over the cream, and then I covered that with gauze covered with Vaseline, and then the gauze wrap. Today it all slid off without any bleeding or trauma, so if I don’t find anything else at least this seems to be working well. I can still check the hospital pharmacies though. You’re so right though. We don’t want to be taking off new skin as fast as she can grow it.

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  12. Amy Lyle says:

    Wow, you are so wonderful Mom! That is one lucky doggy family!

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