Yesterday was a bit of a day. It all started calm and simple but that soon changed. Karen and I had volunteered to spend a day working with Morocco Animal Aid, doing whatever was necessary and required.
The best made plans and all that started off as a simple “can you take this dog to the vet” request. Lucy had been nursing an injured puppy (named Juno) who had been involved in an RTA (Road Traffic Accident) and was eventually caught – the animal was in extreme pain and fear so not easy to catch – and taken to Lucy’s house to calm down and take fluids etc before going to the vet the next day – nobody actually thought she would make it through the night to be honest.
Lena joined us for the day to make a video documentary and wanted to offer us her services to document a sample day, so we all loaded up and went to Lucy’s house. On arrival, we were pleased the dog made it through the night, but seeing the extent of the injuries was pretty shocking, so we soon had her in the car ready to go.
Meanwhile, one of the other volunteers, Renata (the most amazingly mad woman I have ever met! AKA Fingers due to the amount of Band Aid plasters she normally has on) was already enroute to the vet with a puppy with suspected parvovirus – there were two puppies but one already died in the night.
We set off, nice and calm trying to make the trip gentle for the poor dog. Then as we were on the main road to Agadir, laid in the middle of the road right in front of us was a kitten! We had to go past it, then reverse down the hard shoulder to get back to it. Luckily we saw a very kind Moroccan guy on a moped, stop, pick the kitten up off the busy road and place it in the bushes at the roadside – he rode off before we could thank him.
The only problem was that this all happened right outside the Royal Palace, so when we reversed into a large parking area and started running down the road, we attracted some serious attention from the guards. Lena was desperate to capture all the activity, so whilst we searched for the kitten, she filmed. We found the tiny thing which had a serious eye injury, so collected it up to take to the vet as well as Juno.
Then it all kicked off. The Head of Security was very keen to stop us and became extremely agitated when he saw the camera. Luckily, with the charming Lena and Lucy (he didn’t stand a chance!), he soon calmed him down and Lena deleted all the footage she had taken (basically of a bush where the kitten was…) and this seemed to satisfy the situation. I got a telling off for parking in the area too, even though Karen was still in the car … but eventually we were sent on our way with smiles and handshakes.
On arrival at the vets, Renata was in tears. The puppy with parvo was beyond help and had to be euthanised. We took the injured Juno inside and Dr Ramiche examined him. It’s really odd the animal seem to know that the vet was trying to help and throughout the examination he did not struggle or move. The prognosis was not good. A broken and dislocated jaw and possible fracture of the neck … plus possible nerve damage to the tongue which would make eating impossible…but Dr Ramishe was willing to try to fix it which was amazing news. The dog will require lots of intensive care post op….so another issue to resolve once the dog was returned.
We had a few hours to wait until we could return, so had a drive around the area, only to find a dog in a very bad way. He was very thin, covered in flies and looked on death’s door. We carry both a human and an animal first aid kit in the car now, so Lucy quickly tried to ease his suffering by cleaning his eyes of flies and filth, but this dog was also bleeding from his mouth. It is very difficult to just walk away, so we decided to take him to the vets just to see what could be done, so we loaded him up (with some ease as he could not move much) and drove back to the vet.
One look confirmed our fears, the dog was at end stage distemper, so he was euthanised. Very sad but no options.
Distemper is a highly contagious virus so we all had to exercise extreme caution and clean ourselves, the car and all our equipment carefully to make sure we are not spreading the disease. Same for the Parvo infected puppy too.
After all this, we drove back to home, dropping Lucy off on the way. Everybody was exhausted, more emotionally and mentally rather than physically. What started out as a normal day, turned nuclear – and the day was not over yet.
As we unloaded the car and started stripping off clothes in the front garden to bag for cleaning (we have Millie who has not had her fully course of inoculation yet so we needed to protect her from possible infection .. another worry!), Lena came running up saying there was a huge snake outside her house. I quickly got my clothes back on and headed off to assist. Luckily, the snake had gone, but I have since found out that Cobra’s are often seen along the river bed this time of year!
After scrubbing the car, scrubbing ourselves red raw and disinfecting everything, we finally got indoors to see our dogs – a welcome sight after such a shitty day.
Both Karen and I were drained. It was an emotional roller coaster – tears, sadness, laughter – the full monty. For us this was one day, but for the volunteers at MAA, this is everyday.
So why do we do this to ourselves? Simple really, the animals can do nothing. They are born on the streets and live on the streets. Most are left alone and fed by people who live around them – both Moroccans and Europeans. Some are mistreated and some are frightened of people, but most are easy going, affectionate and just want to live their lives.
All the dogs around us have a great life on the beach – we just need to make sure they are healthy, free from parasites and disease. They play all day and have a tight group who are always together. They repay us by being guard dogs and nothing goes on without them telling us. The town street dogs have it a bit harder as cars are the biggest danger to them, but again most love the company of humans.
As for Juno, he made it through the night with Lucy caring for him, but still has some issues with eating – time will tell but we have fingers crossed for his full recovery.
We eagerly await Lena’s video documentary and we will publish it as soon as we can.
Having spent just one day on the front line makes both Karen and I more determined to do whatever we can to relieve suffering and help with time, energy and resources – MAA need cash and donations for the care of the animals – so much is given for free but drugs and equipment cost money – so if you can spare just a few quid to help it will go a long way.
You can donate by Paypal here – but also share and post comments please – we need to spread the word and get funding to carry out this vital work.
NOTE – I do not apologise for including the images I have in this post – I have not added some images I wanted to as they are just too upsetting even now as I reflect on this post. This is the reality the MAA volunteers face everyday. They are just normal caring people, not veterinary professionals.