The Afghan Dog On Wheels
A message from Founder Pen Farthing; ‘This story demonstrates why I am so proud of the Nowzad team, especially those in Kabul at the Nowzad clinic, for everything they have achieved. Religion and culture are put to one side as we are united by our determination to make a difference for the welfare of animals.
And of course, I cannot forget our amazing supporters whose donations have made it all possible for us to be there for Whitey and all the others! Thank you’.
Whitey, a six month old orphaned pup, was living near to an ISAF base in Kabul where she was being taken care of by kind local Afghan children, soldiers and civilian western contractors alike.
But sadly on 26 August 2014, Whiteys life changed forever. Starting her day playing with the local children that congregate around the outside of the base she soon, as young pups do, tired herself out and choose what she must have thought was a safe spot for a nap in the afternoon sun.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case and sadly a military vehicle hit Whitey before she could move out of the way, crushing her back legs.
Luckily, the children that played with her and a contractor working at ISAF were on hand immediately to arrange transport direct to the Nowzad clinic. It was distressing enough for our clinic staff to deal with the horrific injuries that Whitey had suffered, let alone attempt to reassure the distraught children who were beside themselves and begging the Nowzad team to save their dog.
Dr Mujtaba, immediately gave strong pain relief and tended to her injuries.
Both of Whitey’s back legs had been broken. Whilst the Nowzad team always give 100% to every animal that comes to our clinic, our resources are limited and we doubted that we had the resources required to give Whitey any quality of life back. We contemplated the fact it might be the kindest thing to put her to sleep.
But the Afghan children and the contractor pleaded that we attempt to treat her injuries.
On 29 Aug 2014 Dr Susan Chadima, a visiting American vet who trains our own vets, was on hand at the Nowzad clinic to assist us with surgery on Whitey.
Without going into the technical details of her injuries the highly skilled vet team lead by Dr Susan made the heart-wrenching decision that Whitey would have to lose her left leg. It would have been untreatable even if she had been in a modern western vet hospital.
Her right leg was also very badly damaged but there was a chance it could be saved.
There were so many obstacles in front of the team; Whitey’s right leg had to be kept free from infection but the dressing could not be changed daily as the leg had to be splinted and remain fixed to allow the damaged bones any chance of healing.
So on 2nd Sept Whitey underwent her first dressing change. The team were amazed at the progress they saw; the tissue and skin were starting to regenerate with no signs of infection and the tissue regeneration has since continued at an astounding rate.
However, Whitey is just like any other dog and as her treatment progressed she attempted to be more and more active which was clearly going to be a problem and we ideally needed her remaining leg to be stress free while we hoped it would heal.
And thankfully a very generous man called Jim Colla stepped up to help.
Jim runs ‘Dog Wheels’ in the UK and specializes in wheelchairs for dogs.
Jim after receiving a request for advice immediately offered to send Whitey a specially made wheelchair for free which arrived within 10 days of the first email!
It has now been a month since Whitey had her accident and she has come along in leaps and bounds. She is best friends with Monty, a pup of around the same age that came in just a few weeks before with a broken pelvis. Monty, much like Whitey, is almost impossible to keep still and although he can get himself up and walk, he tries to do everything at top speed which results in him constantly falling over. Rather than taking the time to pick himself up he just drags himself along the ground instead.
We decided to try Monty in Whiteys wheelchair and off he went as fast as he could! So once again we spoke to Jim at Dogs Wheels and he generously offered to make a chair to help Monty with his recovery. It is not certain at this stage if Monty will need his chair forever or just until his pelvis heals but both Monty and Whitey have a chance of being the playful pups that they once were.
Both dogs need homes, however, we have a long way to go before we can consider attempting to transport them to the US or UK once we have found their special forever homes (to enquire about adopting cats or dogs from Nowzad please click here) and so for now we need to care for them at the Nowzad clinic along with the many other cats and dogs that come to us from the streets of Kabul that need our support who have no voice but ours.
If you can help us to help them, then please visit http://www.nowzad.com/jbad/ to donate to our JBad appeal to raise the vital running costs associated with operating a small animal clinic and the only official animal shelter in Afghanistan.