Sisi is one of the beach dogs at Banana Beach in Aourir. She lives in a shelter built by one of the residents here who also feeds and cares for her generally. She is not the friendliest of dogs and she will come to you but will never allow you to touch her – something horrid must have happened to her in her younger life to make her so – who knows really.
Sisi is one of our target bitches for spaying, 6 months ago she had a small litter of 3 puppies, one died shortly after birth, a female was taken at about 8 weeks old and the oldest one (who we call Butter) is still here and is a really lovely dog, so friendly and playful, so unlike his mum. They are always in the same area, moving to get shade, food and water at various places in the immediate neighbourhood.
You may recall from a previous post that we managed to get Sisi inside our courtyard about 4 weeks ago, ready to go to be sterilised. She had other ideas. Every thing was fine until we tried to encourage her into the handling box, then we encountered her willfulness for the first time. The resulting encounter ended up with Sisi escaping from our courtyard and dashing up the beach and away!
The next attempt was planned and the guys from the Association Le coeur sur la platte turned up with a tranquiliser gun to make sure we captured her. Sisi was darted – in fact she was darted 3 times – before she made off into the plantation behind the beach and disappeared once more. We searched for 2 hours without finding her.
Once everybody had gone and the operation was abandoned, she appeared outside our house none the worse for her experience. She was now very wary of us all and kept a safe distance from all contact. The guys from the Association said that they have never had a dog with such will to evade capture and 3 darts would be more than enough to bring her down.
This Friday we tried a slightly different approach, deciding to give here tranquilisers orally in some chicken. So the plans were made on Thursday night and Patricia (the lady who normally feeds her) was to feed her at 8:00am so the drugs would slowly make her sleep in her home area without stress. We would observe her from a distance and make sure all was good before getting her into the cage.
Lena, one of our neighbours, and I did not actually see if Sisi had been given the drugs, but at 9:00am she was still running about which made no sense. We then discovered Patricia had overslept and the feeding had not happened – so the drugs were given about 9:20, meaning we were forced to wait until at least 10:00am before anything could be done.
These drugs work well if the dog is calm, but as usual in Morocco, few things are calm or go to plan. Firstly, a quad bike came flying down the road, causing all the dogs to chase and bark at it, including Sisi. Then 10 minutes later, a herd of sheep passed by, again all the dogs chased around and barked…so what chance did we have really!
We saw here becoming sleepy but as we moved in to capture her, Sisi woke up and managed to get inside her shelter, making it impossible to get hold of her. After trying all sorts of things to coax her into the crate, she escaped and made off down the beach – with 3 very powerful pills she should have been soundly asleep! We slowly followed her, waiting another 15 minutes until she looked asleep, and the same happened again.
We decided to give her 2 more pills and hoped this would bring her down, but the cat and mouse game continued for a further 45 minutes or so, finally ending in Sisi making her way back to the dry river bed in the middle of a bunch of sheep and goats, and finally she escaped into the plantation again. We had to admit defeat and give in once more. Sisi was stressed, we were stressed and the drugs were wearing off.
The big frustration is that we were totally under equipped to capture such a dog. Trying to capture a difficult dog, especially one that would potentially defend herself if cornered needs specialist dog handling equipment which the Moroccan Animal Aid guys simply do not have funds to buy.
This operation really highlighted the problem and so now we are looking for ways to raise funds to not only continue the work being done, but to purchase equipment to make this process less stressful and more effective.
We have decided that the only option is to let nature take its course with Sisi, we know she is pregnant so we will just have to wait until she has raised the pups and then deal with them all in the future.