I first discovered Sierra during my visit to Taiwan in August 2005. When I saw Sierra, she was cramped into a tiny filthy cage covered with feces that emitted terrible odor in a vet's clinic. Sierra had been in the cage for the past ten months after being hit by a car on the street. The car accident had left her hind legs immobile. Sierra crawled in the cage with her front legs, scraping her butt constantly against the cold metal of the cage without any cushion or comfort. She was skinny, covered with fleas and her condition was terrible. Most terrifying sight of all is the bloody open wound on Sierra's butt, her bones showing, sustained by the constant scraping.
Despite her environment, Sierra is a vibrant beautiful young life. She was very excited to see me when I stopped in front of her cage to say hello. Finally someone was taking an interest in her existence, she pushed her tiny body against the cage to greet me. What a gentle beautiful dog! Fighting with all her might to survive this inhospitable man-made environment.
It was evident to me that neither the vet, nor the person who rescued Sierra had given her the basic care she needed, not to mention the human contacts she so desired for the past ten months. Sierra had suffered a great deal; sitting in her own blood and feces with raw open wound that slowly poisoned her blood without any hope of getting better. I was both saddened and shocked to find her in this condition at a vet's hospital, and to see the kind of neglect and inhumane treatment she had been subjected to for such a long time. Cases like this are common in Taiwan, there are over 66,000 stray dogs born each year in Taiwan, and there is no functioning system to help protect them.
Since I had to continue on with my journey in Taiwan, and since I was a stranger to the city, I wasn't able to come up with a solution for her right away. It wasn't until I came back to the US (two weeks later), that I was able to convince Sierra's rescuer to release her to a new hospital and foster home that AHAN arranged. I also found someone in Taiwan who donated a wheelchair designed for d`ogs to Sierra. When Sierra was finally moved out of the hospital and saw the outside world for the first time, she was so completely moved. I can only imagine what a relief it must have been for her: to see the sky and smell the air again.
Sierra's condition did not get better right away. The new vet in Taiwan told me that Sierra should have received physical therapy right after her car accident. The muscles on her hind legs had shrunken and lost their function. The open wound on her butt was causing a bad infection. The vet didn't give us high hopes for healing Sierra. It was yet another blow to all of us who had been standing by Sierra. In the two weeks that Sierra spent in her new foster home, she moved about in her wheelchair, she had other dog pals to visit, and she finally had a bath after ten months. She had never had so much love in such short amount of time. Finally, life had shown a sign of mercy.
A private rescue in Germany heard of Sierra's story decided to take her in for further medical treatment. Sierra had come too far to give up hope of regaining her health, even if it meant traveling to a foreign country. AHAN helped pay for her medical bills in Taiwan and donated all the fees necessary to send Sierra to Germany. Sierra is now under intensive care in Germany. The feces that she'd been sitting in for such a long time had invaded her bones and her blood stream through her open wound. The infection has taken a big toll on her organs. Sierra is now is struggling for her life in the emergency room.
Sierra, don't give up! We love you, and we will continue to be by your side for your full recovery. Be well, little girl!
Sierra's Update: Sierra passed away on Sept. 13th after
suffering a great deal in the emergency room. She was finally put to
sleep in the arm of a rescuer. Please help contribute to rescue other animals.
What You Can Do To Help:
Please make a contribution to Ahan for other animals' current medical expenses and to support Ahan's future rescue efforts: