He was brought in paralyzed from the waist down, emaciated, reeking of pee and covered with open wounds. After a week at the vet, he is now eating well, but still spends most of his days catching up on the sleep that was deprived of him during all those years living on the streets, fending for himself.
Matthieu has also been receiving a steady flow of visitors. He is friendly and calm with the attention, but he doesn't like to be handled with for too long, and will struggle and turn away after a while. Still, he is a sweetheart and likes being around people - if it is quiet and no one is around, he would howl a bit - not excessively but just for a few seconds to remind you he is there. Once someone turns on the radio or talks to him, he calms down again. He loves food, especially fish treats.
The surgery to remove his scrotum was a success and he is healing well although the stitches are still on. He dribbles pee and the doctor reckons he is unable to pee on his own for now. Without a catheter, he will drip pee and get urine burns, so he is keeping the catheter for now but we hope not in the long term.
The wounds on his body are slowly drying up and healing but his leg wounds are very raw and sore and his two back paws are still bandaged.
Fiona and Lily (a volunteer) brought him to visit Dr Ben Landon, an animal surgery specialist from Landon Veterinary Services, where he was warded for the night as Dr Landon wanted to do more imaging on him, as well as a CT scan to narrow down where his injury is. We found out that Matthieu has a compressed spine - it could have been caused by old age, or trauma (eg, something heavy fell on him), but we are unable to say for sure, nor do we know how long his spine has been this way.
|Dr Landon trying to get Matthieu to stand|
His one night stay and the digital imaging cost us $2,100. Some might say it's a lot of money but having saved him, we just want to do our best for him and perhaps one day he will walk again. And Fiona says she is used to selling stuff to pay vet bills J
Dr Landon said Matthieu has reflex actions but the muscles on his hind legs have wasted away and he could have been injured for about 6 weeks or more. Given he is not young, recovery might take months, if he walks again at all.
|Sadness in his eyes|
In the meantime, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and canine massages may help - if he shows no improvements after 3 weeks, we were told to consider spinal surgery. Yes, it is a big risk and no guarantee that he will get better. But given that Matthieu cannot walk, how much worse can it get? Nonetheless, it will cost $5,000, which is a lot of money, and it is something we are still considering.
Checking Matthieu's reflexes:
A canine masseuse, Natasha, visited Matthieu on Sunday and spent an hour working on him. He seemed to enjoy the massage and the attention. We intend to have this twice a week for the next three weeks, and hopefully see some improvements. He can’t yet go for hydrotherapy as he has his catheter on. Proceeds from the sale of our HOPE 2013 calendars will help pay for his massage sessions and vet bills, although it seems to be going faster than we can sell. Matthieu seemed to like Natasha and would turn to look at her ever so often. Natasha pointed out that the right side of his body is extremely muscular. The muscle on his right forearm is huge and bulging, which would mean that he could have spent at least two months dragging himself with his right front leg, while using his back right leg to kick forward, straining those muscles. On Wednesday, an acupuncturist from The Animal Doctors would be seeing Matthieu and assessing him, before she starts working on him as well.
Matthieu is actually ready to go to a foster home, and there isn't much the clinic can do for him at this point. He just needs as much acupuncture and massages as possible in the next two to three weeks and we hope for miracles, like we always do and sometimes, they do happen. A home environment would benefit Matthieu tremendously, rather than just lying alone in the cage.
Last week, Mr Aziz and his entire family visited Matthieu at The Animal Doctors – him, wife, son, daughter and even “Nenek” (grandma). Mr Aziz wore gloves and patted him affectionately, calling him “Boy Boy”. He thanked us for saving Matthieu, although it should be us thanking him for caring for Matthieu all this time and looking for help to save him.
|Mr Aziz visiting Matthieu "Boy Boy"|
|Mrs and Mr Aziz talking to Matthieu|
Mr Aziz said after he noticed Matthieu could not walk, he fed him twice a day. On weekends, he would bring his wife down and they would feed Matthieu with biscuits and bread. He related how one evening he had gone down for a second feeding and could not find Matthieu – it was pouring and him and his wife searched for two hours in the rain to no avail.
He then spent all of the next day worrying about Matthieu and was relieved when Matthieu eventually showed up. Since Matthieu became partially paralyzed, his mind was always on how to help the dog - he worried more for Matt then he did for his own kids, he said.
Seeing Matthieu saved and in the hospital was Mr Aziz’s best birthday present ever (his birthday had been the day before) and he told us he was thankful that Matthieu was ok and received the help and care he needed.
We were touched by his comments, his compassion and love for Matthieu and have been keeping in touch. We have delivered food to his factory and will continue to provide food on a monthly basis as long as Mr Aziz is willing to feed the dogs there.
|Till today we have never seen Matthieu smile or wag his tail but we hope that one day soon, he will.|
Thank you Mr Aziz, we salute your kindness. Matthieu is indeed blessed to have Mr Aziz look out for him and love him so much, and that is why we will do what we can for Matt and hope that he will one day walk again.
We thank everyone who has contributed to Matthieu’s vet bills, and food for his factory. Matthieu is grateful for your love.
Contributors : Lin Yanqin, Leslie Kok and Lily Woon.