Maya and Her Chicken Dance
We found out about Maya from the staff at the golf club where we are working on a spay and neuter project to reduce the stray dog population. We know every dog and puppy on the property and we learned that one 3-month old puppy named Maya had wandered into another feeding mom’s territory and ended up getting attacked.
Maya was injured on her neck, bleeding and extremely disoriented. She could barely stand up and when she tried to walk, she would walk backward. She was in extreme shock and very scared when Peedus People went to pick her up, she even bit the staff as she felt that she was perhaps being attacked again, or because she had not had any human interaction until this day.
This is Gazelle, a super sweet dog that had 4 puppies of her own. She attacked Maya, we don't know why or what the circumstances were. But, street dogs can be very territorial mostly because resources are very limited.
The First Week of Human Interaction
Peedus People immediately took her to a vet, they did x-rays of her neck and the injury and were thankful that nothing was broken or injured and that she was simply in shock and needed some therapy and time to recover and heal. He neck injury was superficial and would heal with topical treatment.
The first week was tough, and Peedus People volunteers spent a lot of time trying to get her to stand up and walk but with very little success. The good thing is that she was eating and drinking water.
A week after her initial attack, Julie and I returned from our trip to Rajasthan and decided to help out Peedus People (they had several other dogs in their care) and foster Maya at our house to give her some specialized attention. When we took her home, she was still extremely dehydrated and skinny, her hip bones and ribs were protruding - and our #1 goal was to beef her up and get her energy again.
On the first night, we settled her in Reet's lap next to the heater and after her initial hesitation she settled down to our belly rubs and ear rubs, and forgot about her fear for a while as she enjoyed some of her first human love.
Week 1: Just Keep Feeding Her!
She was not walking, barely standing up and immediately sitting down when we tried to get her to walk. She was still in shock and terrified and very untrusting of people. She was so weak, that her front legs did not even straighten all the way and had a bend in her paw.
Quite honestly, we weren't sure if she was going to make it, and we were worried about nerve or brain damage because she was just so low energy. She had a great appetite though, and the will to survive, so that gave us hope. We started her on an extremely high-calorie diet and mixed in water with her meals to ensure she was getting enough hydration.
For several days, she would not walk but she would eat and get much-needed hydration into her scrawny little body. When she tried to stand or walk, she would collapse after one or more legs gave out on her. We started to finally see some results after three or four days of continuous feedings as she started to get more strength in her body.
Signs of Hope
Week 2: Double Up on Food, Triple Up on Love
From day six onwards, we started to see more movement from her and we got super excited by her increase in energy. She started wagging her tail when she saw us, which turned into a crazy body wiggle and she got so animated with her excitement that she would fall over on her side. We felt terrible, but it was so cute. We were so excited when we saw her stretch for the first time after waking up. It's such as simple thing for most dogs, but a huge accomplishment for Maya!! More food, more energy, more strength.
She didn't just need nutrition, she needed a lot of human attention and love. She was part of a litter that was extremely distrusting of humans. It's not her fault, she gets it from her mom.
The little family is located in a secluded wooded area at the Golf Club, where not a lot of staff or members hang out regularly. They were getting fed by some caring members and staff, but not getting attention and love. Her socialization was just as important as her nutrition at this point.
After the first week, we took her in for another vet visit where they confirmed that despite her very slow recovery, there was nothing medically wrong with her and that she was in shock and weak and that she would make a full recovery with good nutrition and vitamins. We decided to get her a laser treatment which was recommended by the vet and it seemed to help. This vet is one of the first in India with the laser therapy equipment!
Week 3 was full of smiles and hope for us as she was eating and walking and making progress every single day. We started to notice cute little things that Maya would do when she got excited, which included raising her back legs to the side like a chicken wing dance every time she sees us. She started doing puppy things like playing with bugs, toys, shoelaces and we even heard her first bark!
"The Exit Strategy"
Week 4: She's going to make it! Now what?
In India, you can't really take in a foster dog until you have a strategy for adoption or in most cases, release back to exactly where the dog came from.
At this point, we knew she should make a full recovery, even though she may remain slightly weak. But, we weren’t sure that she could be released back to the golf club as it requires fighting for food/territory and there is no guarantee that she would get food and water consistently being a weaker puppy. 5 of every 6 stray dogs do not make it to their 1st birthday on the streets of India. She was part of a litter of 6, only her brother and Choco are still alive. Living on a golf club, they are more protected than most street dogs. We were able to capture Choco, get her fully vaccinated and also spayed. Her brother is not so easy to catch :)
We decided to do our best to find her a home, but the adoption of stray dogs (or even formerly stray) in India is very difficult due to many different factors, mostly because most people want purebred dogs from breeders. The #AdoptDontShop message needs to spread more here.
So we partnered with Peedus People to find options for her adoption overseas. Inder informed us that there was a potential for her to go to Vancouver to Loved at Last Dog Rescue, but it is going to be quite a journey of two flights and two different flight volunteers to get her to her destinations where she would be fostered.
We hadn't found a home for her, and we were ecstatic to have this option, so we decided to go for it. The process included getting her leash trained, potty trained and used to being in a crate. She was an all-star student at all of these things!
Getting Social Before Social Distancing Was a Thing
She spent her time joining us for car rides (she loves the car!), local farmers markets, meeting new people, and playing with our community dogs in the neighborhood. A few more weeks were spent getting her paperwork done and continuing to train her on a leash, improve her health, and get her socialized with other dogs and humans. By the time the flight came around, she was a whole new confident, healthy and happy puppy. Now, she was ready to go on her big trip!
She spent her last day in India saying her goodbyes at a vegan outreach and playing in a park.
After a long road trip to New Delhi, a very kind flight volunteer took her from New Delhi to Calgary and another flight volunteer took her from Calgary to Vancouver to the amazing Loved At Last Dog Rescue (LALDR).
She was adopted within a week of being in foster care and is being loved more than we could ever imagine.
A Reminder To Ourselves
Sometimes when you take on helping one dog, you don’t know if all the effort is worth it, but you have to keep reminding yourself that even if you’re not helping hundreds of dogs or that you could be doing more, changing one dog's life at a time is all that really matters.
Maya, we are so thankful that you came into our lives. We truly enjoyed watching your transformation from a shy and weak puppy to a happy, loving and friendly girl doing her chicken dance. We really miss your chicken dance, I hope that you’re keeping it up!