5th October 2014Buck died today, in the early hours. Despite my efforts and the great efforts of my vet, Dr. Pat, he passed away, needlessly, and so poignantly, on World Animal Day.

Look carefully at the photographs and ask yourself: “Who could do this? Who could stand by and be indifferent as a once dog dies of hunger, thirst, fever, mange and serious anemia. Well, you’d be surprised, but many “nice” people did just that.

I met Buck a month ago while driving along a country road not far from my house, the road to Prem International School where nice people live. It was early, around 6:30am and dark. He was alongside a grass verge near houses. Something about him made me slow down and he trotted after me; he could smell the food I always carry to give to the hungry dogs I meet. I stopped and fed him, three bowls full of good nutritious food. He ate ravenously.
He was big and impressive in size, but in very poor shape, underweight, with a skin problem and wounds on his back and top of his head. There was yellow puss in his eyes. A good sign was his terrific appetite.

He was there the next day and the day after that and I fed him. He seemed to be hanging out around a wide gate with a big yard and cottages behind and I fed him. Then he disappeared. Every day I passed looked out for him, but with no luck. Two weeks later I saw him again behind the gate. I pushed food under the gate for him. I wondered if he had a home in there. He certainly lived near homes and people. Several times I stopped near the gate, but never saw him until last Monday 29th September. H e was on the road by the gate. But what a desperate mess he’d now become. I’ve seen films and photographs of animals in this condition, but never in the flesh. He was a walking skeleton. His spine, ribs and hip bones protruding, his stomach reduced to almost nothing, his fur mostly gone he was covered with red, suppurating sores; he smelt awful. He was filthy and covered with dirt and mud. He had difficulty in standing; his rear legs were weak. However, he ate well, putting away two big bowls of food. I decided to take him out of it.

With the help of an assistant I got him to my vet’s clinic. I hoped to have him thoroughly washed, but that was dashed when the vet took his temperature; very high indicating serious fever and bathing was out of the question. He also suffered from well entrenched, mange. She took a blood sample for analysis and bathed his wounds. She administered an antibiotic injection and gave me medicine for his mange and fever. The vet asked for his name. I decided on Buck, after the great dog in Jack London’s immortal story: The Call of the Wild. I took him home.

I placed him with a bed on the closed veranda of a cabin along with his food and water bowls. The following day, the blood analysis came back and thankfully showed no sign of the e.canis parasite, but he had serious anemia. The vet prescribed treatment. I was to administer blood supplement, an anti-biotic and treatment for his mange. And each morning I’d take him to the vet to have water flushed into him by a drip. It was going to be several months work to bring him back. I felt that was fine.

By Thursday, he declined all food and began to sleep. Giving him his medication was difficult. In order to get it into him, I took him back the vet each day. I hoped with all my heart for him to regain the strength to recover, but it was not to be. I last saw him around 9:00pm on Saturday. By 6:00am he’d passed away.

I feel that indifference is a greater form of cruelty than cruelty itself. People who say: “I didn’t do it.” “He’s not my dog.” “It’s not our responsibility” and then standby and do nothing while terrible things occur are so terribly guilty.

God created animals for their innocence. But man he made with higher things in mind; giving him intelligence and the ability to think and reason. He also handed him a conscience, to know right from wrong.

I buried Buck beside our spirit house where three other dog friends who were poisoned earlier this year lie. I cut a little fur from the tip of his tail to keep as a memento of him and our brief friendship. We estimate he was around 5-6 years old. His story we don’t know. But once he’d been a very handsome, beautiful dog. For me, his sad death symbolizes the pitiless, dark, awful side of humanity.
Tony McManus, Chiang Mai.

You may also like...