Written by Cora Bailey, founder of CLAW (Community Led Animal Welfare)
Photography by Esther Prehn
Meet Meisie, a small black-and-gold Dachshund-mix from a rural village in the North West Province. She came to us when, out of the blue, she was unable to walk and turned out to have an important purpose in her life...
The little dog was paralysed
Meisie’s family did not know what to do; for no obvious reason, her hindquarters had become paralysed and she dragged them behind her when she moved.
There is no vet nearby and no transport or finances to access a vet in the nearest town, yet her people did all they could to make her comfortable whilst they sought help. Someone in the next village gave them our contact details and we responded the next day. Our hearts broke when we saw her dragging her hindquarters, and noticed some open wounds on her back legs. She seemed very depressed. It was heartbreaking and we feared the worst.
Our vet examined her, treated the open wounds, gave her medication and ordered cage rest. Time would tell if she would recover. It was decided that she would be better off in a foster home and she joined the Bailey household.
Miraculously, two weeks later, Meisie was able to stand and walk, and was no longer depressed. She still has a slight wobble when she gets too excited which has to be monitored carefully. We’ll never know what caused her paralysis and, after consulting with her original family, it was decided that it would be best if she stayed with us where she could receive constant veterinary supervision. She’s fitted in very well and is a happy dog.
But it’s much more than that: we discovered that Meisie has an incredible nurturing instinct. We first discovered this when five kittens from Diepsloot township were surrendered after their mother was found dead. The kittens were absolutely tiny and required bottle-feeding as well as warmth and nurturing. To our amazement, Meisie stepped in to help, curling herself around the little mites and keeping them warm and safe.
Not long after that, two tiny pups were also brought in for fostering – Meisie has done the same for them. Not only did she cuddle and nurture them, now that they’re old enough, she escorts them outside when they’ve eaten and plays with them as if she was their mother. One of the pups has already gone to his new home and, thanks to her, is well-socialised and knows how to behave around other dogs.
When animals come in at a very young age, without the normal interaction with their mother, they may not learn proper social skills. This makes Meisie’s talent important. It also makes our jobs easier as we know that Meisie is keeping the little ones safe and making sure they are loved and cared for.
This special little dog definitely came into our lives for a reason – she’s making a difference.