On the morning of March 13, a person found a grievously injured dog lying on the tracks of the Mahalaxmi railway station in Mumbai, and contacted Welfare of Stray Dogs, a Mumbai-based NGO which works for the street-dog population in the city. Gunjan Singh, a field assistant manager with the NGO, responded to the call, and what she saw, shocked her.
Anaya’s (the dog) front legs were completely damaged, and Gunjan realised that she had possibly bled throughout the night.
Singh rushed Anaya to the Bombay Veterinary College in Parel, where Dr Tanaya Pai, a surgical student, operated on her under the guidance of Dr DU Lokhande and Dr GS Khandekar. Dr Lokhande heads the Department of Surgery and Radiology.
In the emergency surgery, after one of Anaya’s severely damaged forelegs was amputated, the doctors ran into a complication—a burst bladder. They figured that it was the traumatic incident, coupled with the issues that came up when she was being transported to the hospital, which caused her bladder to burst. Another surgery was performed, and it was around a week and a half later, that doctors amputated the Anaya’s other foreleg.
According to Dr Pai, dogs who lose both forelegs, need continuous and dedicated care. Singh stayed by the dog’s side in the hospital every day and even ordered a special bed for Anaya so that she wouldn’t get bedsores.
The doctors then decided to help Anaya and get her moving independently again.
Prosthetics could not be used as Anaya had lost a joint in her forelegs during the accident, and with no carts to replace the forelimbs, the doctors designed a PVC model. Customising measurements and designing the cart led to significant trial and error, with the team discarding several designs before zeroing down on one.
Anaya continued to get better, and Singh started scouting for adopters, finally zeroing on a friend—a freelance professional—who lives with two other dogs and is committed to looking after them.
Akshata Pembhre, who lives in South Mumbai, received Anaya after she had spent nearly 56 days in the hospital.
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Singh visits Akshata regularly and is happy with the progress Anaya has made. She now walks on her hind legs, and confidently moves around in her new surroundings. Akshata also walks Anaya a couple of hours each day, after harnessing her to the cart, so that she gets used to it.
It took three surgeries, but 7-year-old Anaya has thankfully found a loving home and is walking on her own again.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)