On the first day of January and as the world was waking up to a new year with a plus digit number, I was in the wadi picking up empty plates of the dogs’ last night meal.
As I was climbing up, I saw a swarm of flies hovering on one of the ditches and I approached to have a closer look. I found a tiny puppy lying there and looking sick. I recognised her as one of the two months old puppies from my pack who stopped eating a few days back. I patted her head and when she didn’t flinch, I headed home and brought one of my cat carriers to put her inside.
At the clinic, the vet announced that she was infested with ticks that caused her severe anaemia. He wasn’t sure of her survival but promised that he’d try his best.
By evening, he called to say that she had started eating and that he’d keep her for a few days on antibiotics till the swelling of her back paws reduced. I decided to call her Ulfat Hanim (Madam Ulfat), a name that’s always related to Egyptian aristocrats during monarchy time on their television series.
After leaving the clinic, she had to stay indoors for a few days before vaccinating and releasing her. However, she developed a sudden diarrhoea due to the antibiotic treatment.
This incident gave me an eye-opening insight on the canine species: they don’t use litter boxes like felines. I was welcomed every single morning by a disastrous mess where I had to wash the floor and lay absorbent pads all over the place that Ulfat seemed to miss most of the time.
She was taken again to the clinic and stayed for a few more days and when discharged she was put on a strict diet. It took almost a week for her to become better and as I was getting ready to take her for vaccination, Abu-the brute black cat- managed to open her window and bite her ear (he survived a dog attack a month back. It was payback time for the whole race, according to him). Ulfat was back at the vet’s and was put on an antibiotic cream till the wound healed, by this time she’d been with us for more than two weeks.
Bad luck seemed to be striking Ulfat constantly and I was worried about the pack forgetting her, although I was enjoying her company and looking forward to her meal and playing times. This was my first experience of rescuing a puppy and there was always something new to learn about their behaviour.
As days passed by, everyone started doubting my decision of putting her back in the wadi. I knew that the Kitzanians would never welcome her in their territory, yet I decided to experiment. I took Ulfat out one day and the minute I set her on the ground, Borsa attacked her. Ulfat fell on her side with a cry and I picked her up quickly, as the rest of the cats were getting ready to pounce- a very strong resemblance to Jurassic Park’s closing scene.
Poor Ulfat was traumatised by the experience for a few hours but then she forgot about it. Fortunately, my friend Lorraine heard her story and decided to adopt her, along with her old dog Piper and a few friendly cats. Ulfat loved her new home and adapted so quickly to the loving surroundings, which filled my heart with happiness and gratitude. I still miss her but remind myself that my year had started positively by saving Ulfat Hanim.
-- Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja. firstname.lastname@example.org