A Day in the Life of a Rescued Stray Dog
From Scavenging for Food to a Loving Home: The Story of a Rescued Stray Dog
Rosie was found wandering in the street alone. At only about 10 weeks old, she was fending for herself, living on scraps of food and small amounts of water. She was hungry, thirsty, scared and alone.
Rosie already had a bad case of mange, a skin disease caused by mites that burrow inside the skin. It is incredibly itchy and Rosie had already been scratching so hard that she had lost much of her fur.
Rosie was also malnourished, and suffering from intestinal worms and ear parasites.
In Sierra Leone, unowned, roaming dogs have extremely low survival rates. Over 75% will die by the age of one, and females like Rosie are much less likely to survive than males. There are estimated to be over 100,000 stray dogs in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown. “The situation for dogs is just desperate in Freetown,” says CPI co-founder, Sarah Morris. “There is a huge population of dogs, and the vast majority receive no veterinary treatment at all, and are greatly at risk from illness, injury, abandonment and abuse.” There is a strong preference for keeping males as people don’t want to be burdened by litters of puppies.
Research in Sierra Leone by Compassionate Paws International (CPI) shows that females are more likely to be abandoned than males, suffer poor health, and then die in the street.
This has led to a severely skewed sex ratio: there are an estimated 2.7 times as many male dogs in Freetown compared to female dogs.
Rosie was one of the thousands of female dogs who are abandoned every year in Freetown. She had almost no chance of survival beyond a few weeks or months.
CPI’s co-founder, Sea Ramanat, saw that tiny Rosie was in danger of being run over by passing vehicles, and took her in as a foster. Rosie was initially given treatment for worms and skin parasites, and she started to look a lot better.
The future was looking brighter for Rosie.
Then, unexpectedly, Rosie became gravely sick. She was diagnosed with parvovirus, a highly contagious virus that has a high mortality rate.
Rosie’s demeanour quickly turned into one of lethargy and sadness. The CPI team were beside themselves with worry.
Sea did everything she could to make Rosie feel better; administering IV fluids and medications for secondary infections, nausea and pain, and staying up to deliver round-the-clock care.
Sadly, despite their efforts, Rosie's condition continued to worsen and she started to seizure. It looked like her fate was sealed and the team were advised to have her humanely put to sleep to avoid further suffering.
However, at the last minute, Rosie showed signs that she was still fighting. The decision was made to wait some hours to see if there would be any improvement.
Against all odds, Rosie started to improve. Gradually, her appetite returned and she began to show signs of her old self once again. Sea and the rest of the team were overjoyed. Little Rosie had fought valiantly for her life and over the next few weeks, she evolved into a strong and playful puppy.
Once Rosie had some time to recover, she was ready to go to her forever home. CPI were grateful to a wonderful new owner who had come forward to take Rosie.
All adopters are vetted by CPI, sign a contract, and receive follow-ups. In Sierra Leone, it is usually very difficult to find adopters to take on stray dogs. With such high levels of poverty, most people are sadly unable to provide a dog with everything she or he needs.
Rosie’s new owner, Hassanatu, is an experienced dog owner who loves animals and gives Rosie endless amounts of love and care. She also adopted another CPI rescue dog called Topsie.
Hassanatu says: “I am happy and grateful for your help. I know there are lots of dogs out there that need a lot of love and care and you guys are seeking and helping them out! I am so happy to have Rosie and Topsie and they are doing very well.” Rosie was vaccinated and sterilised by visiting vet team, Far Vets during CPI's March 2022 spay-neuter clinic. She will now be able to enjoy a full life, free of the hardships she endured on the street.
Rosie’s story was not just one of survival, but of love and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Watch the video of Rosie’s rescue here.
Compassionate Paws would like to thank everyone who has donated to help provide veterinary treatment and care to stray dogs in Sierra Leone. All donations go to the projects. If you’d like to help us by making a one-off or monthly donation of money or veterinary equipment, please go to our donations page or email email@example.com.