I had been hit by a car and now I was cowering beneath a mentally ill man welding a stick of bamboo. He hit me once and the pain shot through my leg, just as the second blow rained down on me. The skin on my leg was whipped open and my bones dislocated, leaving me, a skinny starving dog to fend for myself. I didn’t have long though – the wounds were just too much to cope with.
A few days later, a lonely traveller walked along the U Bein bridge with every intention of enjoying the sunset. The girl walked past me before spinning on her heel and crouching to my level, looking me straight in the eye. I wasn’t scared, and even if I was, I couldn’t move. The girl put out her hand and began to pour fresh, clean water into her palm. I drank with enthusiasm and eventually the bottle ran out. With tears flooding her eyes, the girl called me over, away from the centre of the bridge as people hit and shoved past me. I stood looking into the girl’s eyes as she rested her forehead on mine.
I had to lie down. The pain was unbearable and I couldn’t get comfortable, but the girl held my head in her hands, patting my fur and whispering that she would save me.
She left me then.
An hour later she returned with two men who poked needles into me and sprayed stingy blue solution on my tender wound. She carried me to the shore and feed me an amazing meal before saying goodbye. I couldn’t survive on the shore though, because people were scared of my wounds, and no shopkeeper would shelter or feed me, but instead, they hit me so I wouldn’t come near them again.
But that’s history now because two weeks later, I have a home.
As you will recall, two weeks ago I met a young dog in Myanmar, whom I affectionately named Hope. With the help of my taxi driver, I located a vet and we managed to briefly tend to Hope’s wounds; however despite not wanting to leave the sweet street dog, I had to board my flight to Thailand the very next day.
I spent days worried sick, unsure what happened to her or whether she had even survived. She still needed my help, so I put my travelling and my work on hold to spend hours emailing veterinary clinics and animal rescue groups worldwide trying to gain contacts in a country with a poor animal welfare record and not many animal shelter groups (and even less with websites or Facebook pages!)
I had posted a blog earlier in the week, which had been seen by hundreds worldwide, but to no avail it seemed. I thought all was lost, there was nothing that could be done. Hope was probably going to die. Unbelievably, I received a comment on the original blog by a group named Royal Heart Animal Rescue. They had been passed on my information by another group, had read my blog and as a direct result, hightailed it down to the bridge where Hope was passing her days.
She had made her way back onto the rickety bridge, so it wasn’t hard to find her. The bridge probably served as solitude from the shopkeepers who wouldn’t help her.
In the days that have followed my encounter with Hope, she has consumed my mind. I was petrified for her; angry at myself for not doing more, unsure of what my capabilities really were. But I pushed through, and one week later the news she was safe reached me. I was skeptical at first because I wasn’t sure it was her – I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
A few days after she was rescued I received plenty of photos of the girl who stole my heart, confirming she was alive. She looked beautiful as ever and so much healthier! Tears flowed down my cheeks – I had done it! Hope was okay thanks to this group of animal-loving friends.
She is now in the care of Royal Heart Animal Rescue, and despite wishing I could keep her forever, I am happy to announce that the founder of this group and her family fell in love with Hope just as I did. They have decided to keep her as their pet, and I can visit her whenever I want!
Hope now has a family. A mum and dad to look after her, a baby to play with and plenty of other animals to keep her company. And of course, a lonely traveller who loves her more than words can describe.
Hope’s wounds have begun to heal, and she’s fattened up a little. Her leg is still in a bad way, so she will need surgery to correct it and ensure she will be able to walk again.
Royal Heart Animal Rescue was founded only four months ago, and in that time have saved the lives of over 100 street dogs, as well as cats and any other animal that need help. This isn’t a team of professionals, but a team of strong animal-lovers who are fighting against all odds. The founder, Saw Thae Oo, has dreamt of saving animals since she was a child, and despite the attitudes in Burma, she has pushed through the barriers and is following that dream, quite literally saving lives every day. She now runs a team of about 15 volunteers who love animals just as much as she, and they are currently building a shelter for all the animals they have rescued from the streets.
If it wasn’t for Saw Thae Oo’s vision four months ago, Hope’s story could have ended dramatically differently. My gratitude for Royal Heart Animal Rescue is enormous and the words ‘thank you’ will never be enough.
I received this adorable picture of Hope today with the knowledge that her new name is now Pain (meaning boney or skinny in Burmese.)
She will always be known as Hope to me, because that name embodies her entire story – I had hope she would be saved, and here is my girl happy and healthy. In the process of saving Hope, I almost gave up hope but I know now, hope is just as important as determination. Hope has given me hope, and will always be there in the back of my mind when I encounter another situation like this in the future.
If you would like to donate to Royal Heart Animal Rescue to pay for Hope’s operation and the care of other animals, please send to:
09976855338 / 09797224997 / 09963844944
Bank acc—0104 2010 1000 8923