Written by Marin Schillings van der Walt
Photography by Riaan van der Walt
I received a call from a friend telling me about this tiny, few-weeks-old Daxie girl in trouble. Her owner’s big dog had stepped on her, and she could no longer walk properly.
My daughter-in-law Liezel fetched her and looked after her for the night (falling madly in love with her and reluctantly letting her go). The following day I took her to Sanmarie Jacobsz of Dachshund Rescue South Africa, who placed her in a foster home.
We couldn’t stop thinking and worrying about her. We weren’t sure how bad the damage was and what sort of medical care she’d need. Sanmarie and I took her to a vet who confirmed she had a serious back injury and that scans would be needed to establish the extent of the injury. The vet added that in all likelihood it was already too late to do anything about the injury.
In the meantime, Liezel and Thomas decided to adopt her: they felt that, due to her injury, the chances of her being adopted and cared for were very slim, although she’d received many adoption applications (see Liezel’s story below). They wanted to love and care for Lily; it didn’t matter that there was something wrong with her. So, little Lily was adopted by my kids, who absolutely worship her.
Liezel and I wanted to know more about her injuries, so Lily was booked to have x-rays and an MRI at the Rant en Dal veterinary clinic. When we walked into the surgery, Dr Cramer advised us that an MRI wouldn’t be required as the x-rays showed him everything: Lily’s little back had been broken like a twig and then later fused very crookedly, creating new nerve pathways. Dr Cramer said that if he were to operate, he’d need to break her back again and then perform reconstructive surgery, but he advised that the operation is a risky procedure with a high chance of non-survival or total paralysis. He therefore said he’d not be willing to undertake the operation.
It’s a miracle that Lily is walking… albeit with a swing. She also sometimes falls down when getting up too hastily or running too fast, but for now this tiny little girl has healed enough to walk and live pain-free and also control her bladder. Time will tell as to what happens with her back: she’s about eight months old now and we need to wait to see what happens when she’s fully grown.
Our little angel loves life with her two brothers, Felix and Claus. Liezel and Thomas are amazing parents and are committed to giving Lily everything she needs to help her recovery and live a quality life. She takes medication to help strengthen her bones and joints and will soon start hydrotherapy to strengthen her back muscles. Liezel found the cutest booties for Lily to wear when walking on coarse surfaces, as she sometimes drags her back feet and then damages the skin and her toenails. It’s tough caring for her, but looking after Lily is a family affair, and if Liezel and Thomas need to be somewhere, I’m happy to step up and love and care for my fur granddaughter. I’m one happy, proud granny! This angel is madly in love and bonded with her mommy, and the way Liezel loves and cares for this little girl constantly amazes me.
Lily is teaching us all that no matter what life throws at you, you can survive if you choose to. I just look at that little wobbly body chasing after her brothers and sometimes falling down yet getting right back up and continuing the chase, and I think if only the world had Lily’s resilience and go-get-em attitude, it would be a better place. She’s such an inspiration to us all!
This was, and is, one of my saddest, most horrendous rescues, but also a happy one.
Liezel Schillings, Lily’s momma, shares…
The first time our eyes met, I fell in love with this small brown bundle. We knew that she’d already received adoption applications and reluctantly had to let her go. But, even after she was taken to her new foster, I constantly worried about her, hoping she was doing better and that she was with someone that would love and care for her.
Thomas and I were devastated when we heard the news that Lily’s first adopter didn’t want her after seeing her crooked back and wobbly walk. We immediately contacted my Mom and said we’d fetch her and adopt her. I’ll never forget that Sunday evening.
Concerns about her uncertain future and having no clue as to how to care for a special needs Daxie like Lily soon disappeared when we were reunited. Lily’s willingness to look past her disability and be so happy made me realise that with her kind of attitude we can accomplish anything. I’d recently lost a loved one, my little niece, and I thought Lily and I were perfect for each other: she had a broken back and I had a broken heart.
Every milestone Lily has accomplished has been celebrated, from gaining weight to balancing on her back feet. She’s doing so well and is a very happy pup who loves playing with her brothers. She’s feisty and fierce and doesn’t let her legs define her. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her! But I’m sure it involves her growing and being an inspiration to many.
In so many ways she’s rescuing me, and not the other way around.
Proudly Lily’s Mom, Liezel.