x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Starving dog saved by generous donors

Tied to a fence along a busy road, Shantih the Rhodesian Ridgeback was starving and infected from tick bites. Thanks to donors, he has fully recovered.

Shantih, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, at a shelter in Al Barsha shows he is a survivor. The dog was emaciated and dehydrated when he was found by a couple of Indian farm workers.
Shantih, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, at a shelter in Al Barsha shows he is a survivor. The dog was emaciated and dehydrated when he was found by a couple of Indian farm workers.

AL AIN // Weak and dehydrated, the dog was tied to a fence on the busy Al Ain to Dubai road with traffic roaring past when he was found by farm workers. Severely underweight, he was on the verge of death.

Four months on, the Rhodesian Ridgeback mix is back to full health thanks to the intervention of two farm workers, a Facebook campaign and dozens of kind-hearted animal lovers. Now all that is needed for a happy ending is a new home where he can be pampered for the rest of his days. Shantih, as he has been named (the name means peace in Sanskrit) was found by two Indian farmhands who led him back to their worksite for food and water.

It was a gesture of kindness that saved the dog's life. As luck would have it, volunteers from the Dubai Animal Rescue Centre (DARC) happened by the farm that day on other business and saw him. "He was just waiting to die, extremely emaciated, and required immediate emergency veterinary care," said Ayesha Kelaif, DARC's founder. "I asked the men who found him if I could take him with me and they said they didn't want him."

Shantith was rushed to the Nad Al Shiba Veterinary Hospital in Dubai where veterinarians began working on him. His red blood cell count was low and he was pitifully thin, ribs clearly visible and weighing just 22kg. A healthy Rhodesian Ridgeback dog should weigh at least 36kg. "He was malnourished and dehydrated and was suffering from kidney damage," said Dr Giulio Russo, one of the veterinarians who treated Shantih. "Fluid had collected in his abdomen and he was covered in ticks."

He was also infected with disease caused by tick bites but it was not chronic and, in time, Shantih was cured. "The dog stayed in the hospital for almost two months and is now completely healthy with no lasting effects," Dr Russo said. To pay for Shantih's treatment, volunteers began raising money. His photo was put on the centre's Facebook page and within a matter of days, Dh3,400 was raised. Mrs Kelaif paid for the rest of the Dh7,000 bill herself.

Shantih is about 18 months old and is being cared for by Mrs Kelaif at her Al Barsha home until someone adopts him. Mrs Kelaif shares her home with her husband, daughter and a menagerie of 158 other animals rescued by DARC including dogs, cats, snakes and lizards. "Shantih is now a healthy, happy, beautiful and loving dog," Mrs Kelaif said. "The only problem is that he doesn't like dogs bigger than him or cats, and that is what has made it difficult for him to be adopted. Many have come to see him but because they all had cats or dogs or both, no one took him."

Anyone interested in Shantih can visit www.darc.com ealghalib@thenational.ae