Doting on Daisy

12th Feb, 2020

Written by Kyla Blasyk

Professional photography by Strike a Pose Photography  

I never did get to hear her full story, but from her behaviour, one could tell Daisy’s story wasn’t a good one.

Daisy was rescued by Maltese, French Poodle & Yorkie Rescue South Africa (MFPYRSA) and was a very subdued and shy little dog; she didn’t really react to anything, and she seemed so sad. She had messy ginger wire-hair covering everywhere, including her face. 

I wanted to adopt a friend for my Pixie and was interested in Freddie Mercury, a three-legged Yorkie with MFPYRSA, but he got adopted. Then the shelter told me they had a Morkie pup (Maltese-Yorkie mix) of around 10 months old, and I was welcome to meet her. And so, off I went!

Shy at first

We sat together for a bit, and they asked me if I wanted to take her home and see how she and Pixie got along; I was more than happy to do that! 

She was shy at first but so quickly her behaviour changed, and when the two girls started playing together, it was incredible. I knew she was the one!

They still had to do a home check, for which I felt nervous, but once they visited and saw my girls together, they too were sold. I filled out the papers and “Genevieve” (the name they’d given her) became my little “Daisy”. 

A few teething problems

She ate her own poop all the time, which was a big problem (especially because she liked to give me kisses – yuk), but it was obviously because she hadn’t been fed. To this day she still sometimes scavenges like a stray doggie looking for food. 

I am a student, working various side jobs to get some money in, and I don’t make much monthly, but regardless, I got her onto vet-specific puppy food and I immediately saw a difference in her condition and coat. She eventually stopped eating her poop and started gaining weight; she also had a lot more energy. 

Daisy had clearly never had a dog bed, because she wouldn’t lie in her bed at first but on the floor next to it; she still lies on the floor sometimes. And she didn’t understand toys at all! I would wave them at her and she’d just leap on top of me. All she wanted was human affection – it was so sad. She also didn’t know what grass was and would hold her pee the whole day; I’m guessing she was scolded for peeing! Eventually I was begging her to go, and if she did go, she’d usually go on the bricks... next to the grass.

She was besotted with me, and I’d joke that she was cleaning my floors for me, because as I walked into a room, her tail would wag like crazy! And she was always cowered flat on the ground (which she still does, but not nearly as often).

When I fed her, I had to reassure her a billion times that it was okay for her to eat it. It broke my heart. But after one month of having her, she began sleeping in her bed, playing tug of war with Pixie, and going to the toilet on the grass. It was so heartwarming to see.

Her separation anxiety was really bad, so I had to take her everywhere with me, otherwise she’d scream and cry until I came home! I was studying for third-year exams at the time so I was home a lot, which was great. She hardly ever left my side; where I went – she went (yup, even to the toilet).

Disaster strikes

On the 16th of September I had to go to university for a revision lecture, so I left her at home with my stepdad and helper. Then I received a message from my mom saying I should call her when I was done with class. I had an awful feeling in my gut, so I walked out of class and called her immediately.

My heart plummeted when she told me that Daisy had slipped out and something had happened to her leg. My stepdad was taking her to the vet. 

Obviously, I got into my car immediately and went straight to Honeydew Animal Clinic. On arrival, my mother was outside crying, so I knew it was bad. I burst into tears and she told me to sit. I refused and told her to spit it out. She explained that the doctors said that there was nothing they could do; a car had driven over her (literally over her body) and they couldn’t fix her. 

In this day and age – they can’t fix her?! No ways. I went inside, in floods of tears, but I couldn’t even hug her because she was shattered. It’s like she wasn’t there: she was so drugged up because of the pain, drool was just pouring out of her mouth, and she wasn’t even looking at me. IT WAS TERRIBLE!

Severe damage

Daisy’s pelvis was fractured and detached from her spine, as was her tail. She had severe nerve damage to her tail and bum, so they had to amputate her tail (leaving her with a little stompie tail that wiggles with joy now). She also had a fractured leg and burst bladder!

For two hours, my mom, gran, boyfriend and I sat there with her. I phoned the shelter to let them know what was happening. They were so understanding. BUT I physically could NOT say, “Okay, you can put her to sleep.” I just couldn’t. Surely she could be saved…

Finally the vet said: “I can send the scans to a specialist if you want.” UM... YES! A few minutes later, the specialist said he could operate on her but that it would be around R20k (which I obviously didn’t have). So, I looked to my family and asked them if they could help me, and I’d sell all my things just to raise funds. Of course, they said yes; they’d make a plan. 

Little fighter

She was taken in the doggy ambulance up the road to Johannesburg Specialist Veterinary Centre. I chatted to them and waited for about two more hours to find out if her bladder was burst or not. If it was, they couldn’t help her. It was so hard. 

Well, it had burst, but, miraculously, it had sealed itself by the time they wanted to operate. How amazing is that?! 

We left her there (which was awful) and prayed she’d make it through the night. They operated the next day at 5pm. It was the longest day of my life, and I prayed she’d make it through the night AGAIN. 

Of course, my little fighter did. 

She stayed at the hospital for a whole week in a tiny cage to keep her still, and I visited her every single day. I truly believe that my love for her kept her going through all of this. She couldn’t walk at all. She was black and blue with stitches and had swelling everywhere, and because of the nerve damage, her bum had no feeling in it, so she was totally incontinent. They couldn’t guarantee that she’d get feeling back in her bum. 

A week later, she was slowly starting to walk. Her healing is truly a miracle!  

Tough but worth it

Then we had to do six weeks’ confinement at home. Topped with incontinence and her refusing to let me wipe her or put a nappy on... it was tough. But oh so worth it!

We went for our checkup after those six weeks and they said: “She’s fine, she’s completely healed.”

WHAT?! How can this all just be over like that? I decided that she needed physio, because she was bunny-hopping around. Her bum had healed almost completely, and she was only having accidents now and then. Now she sometimes poops a little in her sleep, but it’s nothing compared to losing her for good. She got really sick after the op because of her weak immune system, but she’s all healed up now.

I could never have saved her without the help of family, friends and total strangers donating towards the vet account and Back-A-Buddy. Dotsure Pet Insurance was also amazing, and it really helped having the insurance. The whole ordeal probably cost about R30k, after physio and checkups and special food, etc. 

Daisy reborn

She still bunny-hops and limps, she doesn’t clean my floors with her tail anymore, and she poops in her bed occasionally, but she’s my baby and we muddle through.

And it’s like she’s been reborn. She acts like a two-month-old puppy, chewing, playing, being cheeky – it’s amazing! She has a new lease on life and has the best time playing with Pixie all day long. 

It was an extremely tiring, stressful and difficult time for all of us, but I’d do it all over again. She could live another 15+ years, and there was no way I was going to let her go. Especially after the life she’d lived for the first 10 months of her life.

I’m so excited about sharing her story on Happy Tails – thank you!

Tanja Henderson, Director of Maltese, French Poodle and Yorkie Rescue SA, adds…

Daisy was found wandering the streets in an informal settlement and was brought to Maltese, French Poodle & Yorkie Rescue by a caring rescuer.

The poor little girl was underweight, frightened of people and not used to eating out of a bowl, but, despite her fear, she showed such a real desire to be loved. Daisy was sterilised, vaccinated and microchipped so she could begin the next part of her life. Kennels are not an ideal place for such a young dog, and we were so grateful when Kyla offered to foster her after she spotted her at the kennels. The home check was done and Daisy went to live with Kyla and immediately bloomed and was able to learn how to just be a puppy.

Kyla fell in love immediately and they went from foster to adopted in record time.

We were devastated when we heard about the accident, but, fortunately, Daisy has a mom who was prepared to fight for her, no matter what it took.