“The dog was staggering about, covered in puncture wounds which were full of maggots. When Tony approached him, the dog tried to bite him out of fear, but eventually Tony managed to him into the cage that we keep in the back of our car for emergencies like this.
He tried to bite me so I had no option other than to take my jumper off and cover him with it. As soon as I picked him up, he sighed with relief and didn’t struggle.
– Tony Rowles
Tony also noticed that the dog had a very noisy chest and phlegm. The smell from the puncture wounds over his body was terrible.
Tony brought him straight back to our house and we decided to call him Ragnar. Usually, when we rescue a dog, we ask our supporters for a donation to name him or her. But, if a dog is in a critical condition, we will name them ourselves in case they don’t make it. Ragnar will need to be strong if he is going to pull through so we named him after the lead character in the TV series The Vikings.
Our first priority was to clean him up and assess his physical state. Despite his initial reaction to Tony, once we got him home and in the shower, he was very well behaved. It was only when we put medicated shampoo on his coat that we realised the full extent of his injuries – even we were shocked by the huge number of maggots that crawled out from his wounds. Fortunately, we had help from two RSDR supporters Blanka and Virginie who had driven for two days from the Netherlands to Bulgaria to deliver some much needed supplies.
It was important to get his treatment started quickly so we gave him some antibiotics and pain killers. He ate his first meal which is always a good sign, but was unresponsive when we showed him to his bed, just standing facing the corner of the room. We left him to recover and he fell asleep, covered up by a blanket.
On Friday, we started to hand feed Ragnar to gain his trust and put his meds in pieces of meat to be sure that he had taken them. After I’d spent a while talking to him, Ragnar actually got up and stood in front of me. He showed no emotion, but seem to enjoy a gentle stroke. It’s all progress, even if it’s very slow.
We bathed his wounds again, which he didn’t like very much, but with a little reassurance, he kept still and allowed us to take care of him. It was good to see that, afterwards, this seemed to have given him a degree of relief. Thankfully, there was no sign of any more maggots.
After all the years rescuing dogs and cats, Diane and I are still deeply upset by what horrors we see.
– Tony Rowles
For the rest of the day, Ragnar was very quiet and didn’t leave his bed. He spent a lot time sleeping – after all, this may be the first time that he has ever felt he can let his guard down to sleep because there are constant dangers for a street dog. It is also difficult for us to understand what is going on with him because we don’t know how he would normally behave.
Today, we took Ragnar to the Provet Clinic (where we took Khaleesi when she first arrived). Even before we go there, the poor boy was having trouble breathing with all the mucus coming out of his nose. No sooner did we wipe it than it was dripping again.
As always, the vets took great care of Ragnar. He has serious injuries to his neckand puncture wounds to his face, body and legs. They gave him an anaesthetic so that they could shave him and put drains into the worst of the wounds. The poor fellow also has a bacterial ear infection so they prescribed drops to help clear that up.
We also had a little boost today – when Tony went to find Ragnar after he had woken up from the anaesthetic, went towards Tony and wagged his tail. A first tail wag is always a reason to celebrate!
Ragnar undoubtedly has a long way to go, but he has a much better chance now that he has food, shelter and medical treatment. We will of course keep you updated on his progress.
If you would like to donate towards Ragnar’s medical bills, or simply to help us carry on saving Bulgarian streetdogs like Ragnar, please visit the donation page of our website, or click on the PayPal icon on the top right of this page. The donation page also gives details of how to send us supplies either direct, via our UK pick-up point or our Amazon wish-list.
We and the dogs will be very grateful – thank you.