15th Mar, 2018

Written by Caron Baynes of Grace Animal Sanctuary

Professional photography by Keith Lotz Photography

In January 2018, I received a call from a farm labourer at a Klipheuwel farm, Western Cape – they wanted help with a paralysed dog. I headed, out mentally preparing myself for the likely humane euthenasia of an old animal. But what I found was so much worse…

A matted bundle of puppy fur

Enter Kayleen. Upon being eventually directed to the correct cottage where the owners had hidden her for six weeks since her spine had been broken by the heel of a boot, I entered a 2m by 2m zinc chicken coop to find an extremely emaciated, covered in fleas and chicken poop, very matted bundle of puppy fur – and fell hopelessly in love with this joyous little girl who scooted over to me on her butt.

Kayleen’s journey began with an emergency visit to the vet; it turned out that she also had Parvo (Canine Parvovirus), and she was immediately admitted to hospital. The week that followed was an absolute nightmare. But Kayleen fought determinedly, her will to survive incredibly strong, and after four days on a drip, she kicked the dreaded disease firmly into the past. 

Kayleen on wheels

Although she’d fought off the virus, her hind legs were still not functioning. During her stay at the vet, Judy Jooste from Vesper on Wheels (http://www.happytailsmagazine.co.za/articles/features/vesper-on-wheels/) made a doggy cart, fully sponsored by kind donations, and flew it to Cape Town all the way from Johannesburg, ready for the day that little Kayleen would be discharged.

Kayleen flew out of the vet after her four-day stay, handling her new wheels like a pro.

Kayleen has since been sterilised with no complications whatsoever. Fortunately, she still has control of her organs but I nappy her at night just in case, in order to avoid accidental widdles.

And she OWNS those wheels, happily zooming around on them like a racing car driver. The good news is that she wags her tail, shows deep pain response, and has regained some muscle memory in her back legs. She’s having physiotherapy and may surprise us yet.

Flying with the pack

From not being able to walk at all, Kayleen now flies with our pack during evening walks. She lives happily in foster care on a farm, paddles merrily in dams and the ocean and generally brings light into the lives of all who meet her.

Kayleen’s endless joy, love and absolute courage are an inspiration to everyone. Kayleen is a lesson in never giving up. Her seven-month-old life has been filled with tremendous challenges, but this little girl just never stops being happy, eager and courageous. And, someday soon, we hope to find a special family with whom she can live happily ever after.

Kayleen is up for adoption through Grace Animal Sanctuary (https://www.facebook.com/npo.grace/)