A street dog named Sophia who suffered a major burn to her body is an inspiration to the rescue workers who treated her, showing resilience and a sweet disposition despite her pain.
Rescuers from Animal Aid Unlimited, India, will likely never know how Sophia was burned. They suspect the burn was the result of a hot water incident, but regardless of how it happened, Sophia needed help — and fast.
“The burn was almost a foot long,” rescuers wrote on Facebook. “We don’t know what caused it but this beautiful girl was in so much pain.”
Sophia was sedated as medical staff shaved her fur back in order to get a better look at the raw, painful wound. They cleaned and bandaged the burn, but Sophia had a long recovery process ahead of her.
“It took 2 months of daily wound dressings to heal and during that time, we fell in love with Sophia,” Animal Aid Unlimited wrote.
“Her patience and understanding were inspirational; she was one of those special ‘people’ who are so peaceful they can make wherever they are seem like home.”
Erika Abrams with Animal Aid Unlimited told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, that Sophia seemed to know right away that she was in good hands.
“Sophia seemed to know we were trying to help her,” Abrams told Liftable. “With all the unfamiliar smells and sounds in the animal shelter, she immediately relaxed and made sure everyone who pet her, or flushed her wound, or bandaged her or fed her, understand that she recognized they only wanted to help her. That ‘sixth sense’ in Sophia — will serve her all her life.”
When Sophia was healthy enough to leave the Animal Aid sanctuary, she was returned to the streets where she was found.
While orphaned dogs in the U.S. are often kept in shelters until a loving human home can be found, Abrams explained that in India, dogs are cared for by the community as a whole while they continue to live on the streets.
“I know this will be surprising but — usually dogs are not adopted in this region — very very rarely,” Abrams explained. “But they are more than tolerated on the street — their presence there is protected by law. It is a totally different attitude toward dogs.”
While some animals do remain with Animal Aid for the remainder of their lives, most are returned to the streets to resume their normal doggy lives within their community of other dogs and the people who live near them.
“We keep many disabled animals here with us in permanent sanctuary and we are expanding all the time as we have the financial means to do it,” Abrams said. “But for healthy animals we just would be over-run within a few days.”
Abrams is not worried about Sophia’s future, trusting that community members will assume the shared responsibility of keeping an eye on her.
“We returned Sophie to the area from where we picked her up but only after we have made contact with the family who first reported her problem, and they pledged to look after her,” Abrams said.
Sophia’s trusting nature is likely the result of her home on the streets, Abrams explained, where she learned to interact positively with humans.
“The reason Sophie is so sweet and trusting is that she has been well treated by people and has a secure neighborhood home,” Abrams explained.
“This may not mean anyone lets Sophie come inside their houses but it means she is fed, and that people will alert Animal Aid if they see a problem.”
While Sophia may not have a single household to call home, she is anything but alone.
“Dogs always have communities of both other dogs and people,” Abrams said. “Usually they are delighted to return to their homes on the streets.”
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