Thursday, September 18, 2014

Saving a Dog at Havana’s Calixto Garcia Hospital

Saving a Dog at Havana's Calixto Garcia Hospital
September 16, 2014 | Print
Irina Echarry

HAVANA TIMES — The Coronary Care Ward at Havana's Calixto Garcia
Hospital is not exactly a merry place, but it would be far more
depressing if it wasn't for La Niña.

La Niña is a cute little dog that squats on the ground floor of the
hospital. She is always in a good mood, greeting everyone with
affection, spreading love on her four, agile legs. She has won over
everyone this way.

Fate, however, is woven out of paradoxes and irony. Though La Niña is a
universal donor of happiness, she had more than enough reasons not to be
happy herself: one of her teats was swelling uncontrollably and had
grown to the point that she was almost dragging it across the ground.

I had seen the dog around. Some time ago, I'd gone by the hospital and
seen her immense, hanging bag. I thought of doing something for her, but
my daily problems made me forget about the matter.

A relative of mine ended up in the Coronary Care Ward and the dog took
advantage of the situation to break my heart.

Taking care of a sick dog requires money, time and effort. Every time I
walked by the hospital and saw La Niña I thought of doing something to
help her as soon as my relative got better.

One morning, after a sleepless night, the calculating part of my brain
experienced a short circuit and the hemisphere of blind impulses staged
a coup. I put the dog on my shoulder and didn't stop until I reached the
veterinary clinic run by ANIPLANT, an NGO based at the intersection of
Espada and Hospital streets, Centro Habana.

It was a relief to be told that it was not a cancerous tumor but a groin
hernia that was entirely curable. A few days later, La Niña went into
the operating room, escorted by one of her adoptive mothers at the hospital.

Edgar, the veterinary doctor, spends long hours seeing sick little
animals and dealing with angst-ridden "relatives", without this
undermining his kind aura one bit. As he handed over the "bundle" (La
Niña, still under the effects of the anesthesia) officially to me, he
explained she was pregnant and the uterus had drifted into the hernia.
Had we waited a few more days, the condition would have become far more

The danger is behind us and La Niña has been discharged and is back at
the Coronary Care Ward, sparing no affection. Now, the main concern of
those who look after her is Zoonosis, Cuba's State dog pound (allegedly
hunting down dogs as a sanitary measure, though some claim it is to feed
the lions at the zoo).

I want to thank Nora and the other doctors at ANIPLANT very much for
having worked unselfishly to see the operation through. I also want to
thank the nurses and caretakers at the hospital who made the utensils
used to heal her available. I thank destiny for allowing me to arrive at
the right moment and the neighbor who took in the dog during her recovery.

I invite everyone to look after the animals around them. The reward –
the joy of seeing them get better and simply to be of help to someone –
will come in this life.

Source: Saving a Dog at Havana's Calixto Garcia Hospital - Havana -

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