The following story was a winner in the From Woofs to Wonders Photo and Story contest. The top three finishers received a $250 Animal Rescue Site store shopping spree, as well as $2,000 in cash and supplies for their favorite shelter. To read more stories, click here!
It could have had a very different outcome. If it were not for the kindness of strangers and a vet who said ‘no’ to euthanasia, this brave stoic little girl named Lucy would not now be embarking on what promises to be the very best years of her life.
February 2023: A frantic message from an animal shelter in Brisbane, Queensland, to me in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. “Can you help us? We have a six-year-old female Airedale, surrendered by an owner who wanted her euthanised.”
The reason for surrender? Lucy had taken fright, leapt a fence, and got caught by the hind leg, which twisted and broke at the ankle. She hung upside down until rescued, and then she was taken to the local vet in a very serious condition.
Enter the animal shelter and an immediate transfer to Queensland Veterinary Specialists. Surgery estimate: $3000-plus just to stabilise the joint and assess prognosis, along with a possible amputation. The shelter said, “Go ahead, stabilise the leg. We’ll find the money somehow.”
Enter AireNet Australia the following morning, Friday, and a flurry of phone calls and messages, first to agree we would take full responsibility for her, and second to find a Brisbane foster home immediately, to liaise with the hospital and AireNet for the journey ahead. The leg was saved, the foot and ankle joint pinned internally and externally with a metal superstructure that looked like something from outer space, and Lucy was assessed as ready for discharge late on that Friday night.
As always, AireNet people never say no. In a matter of hours, at the end of a very busy Friday, our two foster dads, Nathan and Heath, stepped up. Late that night, they took home brave Lucy. Dressed in a large Elizabethan collar, with colourful vet wrap supporting the extraordinary frame on her foot, she responded with surprising sweetness. Instructions were to keep her quiet, reassured, and as calm as possible.
Thus, from February to October 2023, with the devoted care from her foster dads and backed by funding from AireNet Australia, Lucy embarked on an incredible journey of recovery: Numerous visits to the vet hospital to x-ray and monitor the repair of the joints, ligaments and bones; metal implants both internal and external that amazingly Lucy did not try to detach, uncomfortable though they were; internal infection around the joint that caused considerable concern; and all the while, her happy disposition and love of cuddles sustained her entire team of carers. Every cent of the more than $10,000 that was needed for Lucy could not have been better spent.
Her final visit to her favourite vet, Dr Tim, was in early October. Pronounced healed and good to go, against all odds, Lucy now walks steadily, if a little lopsidedly, adores her foster family and now her very own Mum Judy and Dad Kevin, and has the brightest of futures ahead. While it was a heart-wrenching decision by her foster dads to let her go, they knew it was the right thing to do… and opens the door for another “Lucy” to receive the same love and care sometime soon.
Lucy the Wonder Airedale is very much the poster girl for AireNet Australia. We could not be more proud of her strength and her determination to live and to love every day for the rest of her life. A tale of transformation that makes our hearts sing.