When rescuers first laid eyes on TinTin, the sight turned their stomachs. The dog had been so neglected that he was reduced to a pile of skin and bones. And to make matters worse, he was in the one place that should have been a safe haven for all animals.
Ebony Owens is the director of the Bali Dog Adoption and Rehabilitation Center (BARC). The shelter in Indonesia cares for over 350 animals. Specifically, it provides veterinary care for rescued animals and runs vaccination and sterilization programs in the local community.
In August 2016, a concerned local contacted the center on Facebook, concerned about a dog named TinTin. Apparently, the pooch in question was locked in a cage in a veterinary clinic and looked severely malnourished. And so with no time to lose, Owens went to investigate.
“When I saw the photo of TinTin, I knew BARC had to help,” Owens told The Dodo. “We had to act quickly because he didn’t have long left. At that point, we didn’t know what was wrong with him — all we could do was hope.”
As soon as she set foot in the surgery, Owens knew something had gone drastically wrong. What should have been a place of care had turned into a place of torture for poor TinTin. Unbelievably, it seemed the vet had locked him away and simply left him to die.
When TinTin fell ill, his owner had brought him to the clinic and simply dumped him. Owens believed that they had left the vet no money. And as a result, the vet had simply decided not to look after the dog. Worse still, he had left him to starve to death in the stark confines of his kennel.
A starving TinTin looked as though he hadn’t been fed in days. His sandy colored fur just hung from his alarmingly frail frame. His ribs, spine and hips protruded violently out of his skin. Owen’s knew this was a dog in immediate need of professional help.
And so Owens scooped him up and transferred him to another veterinary clinic. There, he was given a full medical check-up and placed on an IV drip. And to determine if the pup was suffering from any underlying issues, the vets also conducted a series of tests.
The BARC lated posted on Facebook, “We were all holding our breaths and crossing everything that this poor, terribly neglected boy would even survive.” However, their concerns were unfounded. “We thought by the state of him he must have had kidney failure or something drastic, but it turned out he had a mild case of blood parasite carried by ticks,” Owens told The Dodo.
“His main problem was starvation,” Owens continued. And in fact, experts predicted it would take TinTin just four weeks to get over his blood parasite problem. However, it would take months for the poor pooch to battle his severe malnutrition.
According to Owens, TinTin is sadly not alone in his suffering. Many people in Indonesia see pit bulls and other Western breeds as status symbols. And as a result, owners often treat these trophy dogs badly or simply tire of them and fail to look after them at all.
Unfortunately, it’s therefore not uncommon to find malnourished dogs like TinTin. “There’s an extreme lack of knowledge here of the appropriate care of these [Western] breeds,” Owens told The Dodo. “Most often they end up behind bars for life with completely inadequate care.”
“One misconception in Bali is that dogs should be kept in cages, especially “expensive” dogs who are often just kept as status symbols of well-off families,” she added. “TinTin was most likely being kept by his owner in a cage that he never came out of.” But fortunately for TinTin, he is now in safe hands.
Within eight weeks of arriving at the BARC shelter, TinTin had come on leaps and bounds. He had managed to beat his malnutrition and now weighed twice as much as when he was rescued. Finally, the hound was transforming into a happy and healthy dog before his carers’ eyes.
“He’s a very active boy, so he loves to run and play, and he especially loves playing fetch,” Owens told The Dodo. “He loves attention from anyone. He still has 100 percent trust and faith in humans even after all they had done to him.”
With any luck, TinTin would soon be well enough to be adopted. But for now, he’s made himself at home at Canggu Pet Resort. There, TinTin is living the good life alongside a number of other canines BARC have rescued.
And pictures released from TinTin’s time at Canggu have revealed the true extent of his transformation. His once emaciated body filled out with muscles. And what’s more, TinTin now wore a big grin permanently plastered across his loveable face.
On the resort, TinTin loved nothing more than going for a swim or relaxing in the sun. And he made plenty of friends along the way. Not only did the staff at the center adore him, but his also built up quite the online following too.
BARC released their most recent update on TinTin in February 2017. And more than 200 users liked the heartwarming Facebook post. Furthermore, many people left their well wishes in the comments below. “TinTin you look so beautiful. I would love to give you a huge cuddle,” read one particularly sweet message.
And so thanks to the love and care of all the staff in BARC, TinTin has been able to turn his life around. The once down-and-out dog has been able to overcome immense cruelty and still has love in his heart for humans. He’ll no doubt make someone a special pet very soon.