The Story of Spirit
My name is Spirit and I died on September 5, 2008. There have been too many tears at Khlongdogs already and I don’t want to cause more anguish of mind to all the good friends I had to leave behind. But since I left rather quickly I really feel the need to explain my side of the story and maybe, just maybe, I can also comfort the ones who stood by my side, gave me strength and most of all unconditional love during the last weeks of my life.
When I was rescued from the temple I was in a very bad condition but during the following weeks I started to turn into a beautiful dog again. The people in the hospital were nice and cared a lot for me but it was not until after my first day at Khlongdogs that my real spirits awoke and gave me the strength to live again. It was great to be with Khao, Kanom, Dream, Doi and of course Hiso. They really loved me, kissed me and always took care of me. They are the best of friends and they will always be my best friends.
And there was Thomas who cared for me every day. He gave me food, took care of my open wounds and all the things that still plagued me at the time. But together we made it and we got rid of the blood parasite, the ringworm, the papilloma and soon there were no open wounds any more. I felt just good. But it might be the tragic irony of my life that I must have contracted the canine distemper virus during one of our frequent visits to the hospital. The symptoms started with some diarrhea followed by a strange cough and both was immediately treated but at the time it was not obvious that a much darker enemy had entered my body and he really spread around with incredible speed. Very soon my back legs were affected and I developed a strange twitching in my shoulder muscles. The test confirmed our worst fears.
I was hospitalized again and Thomas was with me every day, arranged the best treatment but despite all the effort he could not avoid that the virus further spread to the central nervous system and soon my condition deteriorated by the day. First my back legs refused to obey me and then more twitching and convulsions around the face and the legs developed. It became even hard to keep my head up but I guess I finally lost faith when my eyes started to go blind. It was then when I called on Thomas one night and I guess he understood what I wanted to tell him. He was strong enough to help me go and to save me the pain and agony which the virus will have inflicted on me during the following days.
I left while resting my head in his arms listening to his voice and I still feel his warm fingers rubbing my belly and my ears. It was hard for both of us but it was also one of my most intimate and satisfying moments. I left in the arms of a friend, someone who really cared for me and never left my side until the end. I guess that is what we all are looking for.
If you lead a life as I did you will probably understand how much some weeks can mean, how much it means to feel the love and care of real friends and to experience the kindness of a home. I admit that I really miss playing with Kanom, Khao and all the others who were so nice to me. But there is more to all of us than just time and I have finished my life with dignity and not somewhere in a dark corner like so many other nameless dogs. I am Spirit and I am still a member of Khlongdogs because Doi and the others are still looking for me and I will always be in the hearts of Paporn and Thomas. Now that I am here on the other side I also met with Nicky and Hope and we can promise you that we will never forget all of you but we will be waiting here for the day when we finally meet again.
Some time ago I was hit by a car. It happened so quickly that I barely remember all the details. I was lying somewhere around the temple taking a nap in the shade of a tree since the sun was rather hot when I suddenly recognized that the other dogs got up and run away. I have to say that I was already weak at that time and did not get on my feet as quickly as I should. And there the pick-up truck came speeding along and hit me. The impact threw me several meters away and I was badly injured as you might imagine. As a matter of fact most of my skin was ripped off on my back legs and I was in terrible pain. The driver did not stop or care and disappeared as quickly as he came. I was left for good and so I crawled in a corner since I could hardly move. There I was and my condition now also prevented me from eating or drinking since I neither could go to the feeding place nor could I compete with the other dogs. I already saw the end of my days.
About a week later the Khlongdogs people came along because it was vaccine day and all of us were gathered in a central point. They also found me and brought me to the others. Everybody was busy but Paporn saw me and she talked about me with the monks in the temple. They agreed to help me but the vaccine day kept everybody busy and I had to stay a little longer in the temple. Now I know that my picture appeared on the Khlongdogs website and although it does not show me in my real prime it caught the attention of people far away. So Elizabeth Kniaz from England gave me the name Spirit and this is how I am still called today.
Then the day came, my day, the day I was waiting for. Paporn came back to the temple and they all made me ready for the journey to Bangkok. I was put in the back of her car and we drove to the city where I was immediately admitted in the Suvarnachad Animal Hospital. Suddenly there was much attention for me and doctors and nurses run around me. They cleaned up my wounds and covered everything with nice dressings. They had a rather hard time to get rid of all the ticks and fleas but finally they managed to have me in an acceptable state. Equipped with an IV infusion I was put in a cage and it did not take long that sleep overcame my eyes and I felt asleep.
The next day was full with medical examinations. As it turned out there was a more or less serious situation with my blood since the blood values were rather low. This was accompanied by blood parasites, serious malnutrition and dehydration and of course all the other injuries and infections caused by the accident. Later that morning Thomas came along and talked with doctor for quite a while. He then left and came back with a very strong dog called Klinsi who was supposed to donate blood for me. However, Klinsi managed to do the blood test and all these procedures but got terribly scared when they tried to put a needle in his neck. The procedure had to be stopped. But the same evening Paporn came back and checked on me. She knew already about Klinsi and was desperate to find a donor for me. She talked to some of the people in the waiting room and there were very nice people who agreed to let a Labrador retriever donate blood for me. And so it was done.
I received the blood transfusion the same evening and then prepared for the night. This morning things were slightly different. While I was not able to get on my feet yesterday, there was something different today and I got up myself. But I am still so weak and I just want to sleep. Later Thomas came by and visited me. Well, I never had so much visitors in my 4 years on this earth. Thomas appears to be very talkative since he again discussed a lot with the doctor. It appears that I have gained some half a kilo over the last 48 hours but my condition is still weak. There will be many days and probably weeks until I fully recover. But at least the x-ray shows that I did not suffer any bone fractures and that already is good news. Over the next days they plan to do an ultrasound and keep track on my blood values. If only I could get rid of this parasite in my blood. The biggest thing now is to improve my blood and gain weight. I need to be strong.
Hallo! It’s me, Spirit speaking. Yes, yesterday in the late afternoon Thomas and Paporn came but this time not only to visit me but to take me home. Believe it or not but as of today I am a full member of Khlongdogs and that means: I have a home! I already spent the first night with my new friends who treated me very nicely and with respect. As a matter of fact they actually gave me a warm welcome with all that doggish things we do to get to know each other. I already spent some time to investigate the area and I find it great. Khao seems to like me a lot although she is a bit undecided how to associate with me. Well this is because my legs are still weak and I cannot really play with her as much as I want to. Besides some of my wounds are still open and I must take care that nothing bad happens. But we will manage that, I am sure.
The doctors agreed to release me from hospital because my blood values improved, my wounds are healing pretty well and altogether I show a much better condition as two weeks ago. There will be quite some time before I am in my prime again but here at Khlongdogs they promised to take care of the rest. So, we will see the vet regularly for wound dressing, blood tests and general check-ups. But hey, what is this compared to two weeks in the hospital. Now I can walk around, sleep wherever I want and I have friends around me. And if you could see me now, you would understand what it means to have a home.
I still carry my old attitudes around such as eating much too fast but I heard them saying that it is better that I eat too fast than not at all. And I am very hungry all the time. I actually developed a small belly and now I look a bit funny since my legs and hips are still very skinny. However, I topped the 9 kilo mark already and I will work my way up to a healthy level. Fortunately that doesn’t seem to be a problem since there is plenty of food available. Yes, the old habits follow you for quite a while but when you didn’t get food and water for a long time or had to fight for every crumb with others – you will understand that such things go deep.
There are many other dogs in the other teams but I prefer to keep to my team first before I try to associate with the others. Yesterday I even got the chance to stroll around the garden and I dug my first hole. This is great. There are trees and bushes and lots of interesting things. In the night I still sleep in a spacious cage to make sure that there is no problem during the night but early in the morning the door opens and we all run out to start the new day. Somehow the whole things does not feel real to me since all the threats are gone, there is food and there is lots of love around this place. Oh yeah, there is even a belly rub in the standard daily program – something I did not experience for a long, long time.
So, what can I say? I am home and this is my first real day. I feel so grateful to all of you who helped to support my medical treatment and made it possible that I left the temple to become a Khlongdogs member. You not only donated money but I can surely feel that you have compassion and even over a long distance feel love for me. That is more than I can ever ask for and please accept my deepest gratitude for something that does not appear to be self-understanding in this world. It is your love for us animals and the will to help. I will never forget.
Here’s looking at you!
Khlongdogs - Helping Dogs and Cats living in the Streets of Bangkok