Finding a way to help Mary, a homeless dog

Mary went from stray, broken puppy to a beloved member of a family.This story comes to us from Brian Bergman, Head Veterinarian at the Mdzananda Animal Clinic.--LCH

I am reminded of a story about a man who was walking along a beach after a large storm. He came across a scene where hundreds of starfish had been washed to shore, all of them dying. Walking a bit further he came across a small boy. This boy was picking up starfish one by one and throwing them back into the ocean. He said to the boy, “You can’t save them all, there are too many,” to which the boy replies, “I can save this one,” and throws another starfish into the sea.

At the Mdzananda Animal Clinic, animals are continuously brought to our clinic in various states of trauma and illness.

We want to save them all and that is what we aspire to do, but sometimes there are cases that are hopeless and we need to make the hard decision to help them pass. At those times I am grateful that I can intervene and help end their suffering.

Recently, a homeless puppy had been run over by a car and people living along the street where she had been run over found her crying and in pain. They picked her up and brought her to Mdzananda.

I assessed the little girl, who had a broken hind leg; despite her pain she still gave me kisses.

Many people in welfare work at this stage would have advised putting her to sleep as the operation and treatment to heal her would be very expensive and she had no owner.

Thanks to the generosity of IFAW’s supporters and other people, however, we are able to help in cases like these. Our supporters trust us to care for the welfare of all animals and we are able to do it. Even when our funding is tight, we always find a way to help every animal.

The pup was given a comfortable spot to sleep as well as some pain medication and the next day we fixed her leg in surgery. Our veterinary nurse gave her a name – Mary.

Mary healed well and is an incredibly sweet and tenacious puppy. The Mdzananda Animal Clinic became her foster home and family and our pack of resident pets readily accepted her.

A week later someone who had recently lost their dog came to Mdzananda looking for a new friend.

It was love at first sight.

Mary went from stray, broken puppy to a beloved member of a family.

I can’t save them all. But I can save this one.


Related: Boerbul makes gallant effort in Mdzananda

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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy