The man knew that he’d heard something, and the noises were coming from inside the house. When he followed the disturbance to its source, he found a homeless dog hiding under the stairs. Then he saw the gaping wound on its neck and knew that he needed to get help immediately.
If there’s a country with no shortage of stray dogs, it’s India. In fact, the nation is estimated to have more than anywhere else in the world. In 2015 there were in the region of 30 million of these street dogs, despite the spay and neuter efforts of various charities.
There are several reasons for the existence of such large volumes of homeless dogs. For one, the amount of garbage left on the streets ensures that food is plentiful for strays. Another factor is the decline of vultures in India. Fewer vultures mean that more animal carcasses are available to feed street dogs.
There’s also the fact that it’s hard for animal-neutering groups to keep up with the amount of dogs in need of sterilization. The result is that dogs line the streets, and this has unfortunate consequences. For instance, the number of rabid dog attacks on humans is incredibly high in India.
A study in 2017 predicted that seven million Indians are treated for rabies annually. Consequently, a lot of people consider dogs as pests or vermin. And as a result it can be hard for strays to find help when they’re sick or injured.
Yet despite this, a lot of street dogs just seek sustenance, affection and companionship from humans. One of the organizations working towards changing the situation for Indian strays is Animal Aid Unlimited (AAU). The Rajasthan-based charity is never short of canine patients in its hospital.
“Animal Aid’s mission is to both bring relief to suffering animals and to awaken compassion among people,” the group states on its Facebook page. “Showing everyone a path for action is where we begin.” And one example of its efforts relates to a homeless dog that the organization called Jupiter.
Jupiter was found by some kind-hearted citizens when he was hiding under the stairs in a stranger’s house. No doubt they couldn’t help but notice the gory injury that the poor dog had suffered. They were caring enough to call AAU and look after the dog until rescuers arrived.
On February 20, 2018, AAU uploaded a video showing their first encounter with Jupiter. It begins with two people – presumably the ones who’d discovered Jupiter – guiding AAU to the house in question. When the rescue team see the poor dog, his wounds are both obvious and worrying.
Jupiter curls up on the floor with a large, bloody wound visible on the back of his neck. He’s either too exhausted or too wracked with pain to move when a rescuer approaches him. Even with the agony that he must be enduring, though, Jupiter shows no signs of aggression.
The wounded dog gingerly accepts the biscuits that a rescuer offers him, and Jupiter allows his new friend to pet him. Closer inspection reveals what looks like a makeshift collar tied around his neck. But whether it’s a mark of ownership or abuse is anyone’s guess.
On February 21, 2018, AAU posted an account of the incident on Facebook. “His trusting response to his rescuers made us wonder if on some level he was just waiting for help,” it read. “His sorrowful eyes told us everything we needed to know about his pain.”
In the video, the rescuer is very conscious that Jupiter needs help fast – the dog is at risk of dying without emergency treatment. Next, the footage reveals that Jupiter doesn’t even object when his rescuer picks him up and carries him out the building. The AAU staff then carefully put Jupiter in the back of their truck.
When the team drove Jupiter back to the animal hospital, however, they realized just how serious his wounds were. The dog was closer to death’s door than they had thought. Jupiter’s injury was bigger than initial impressions and in fact stretched all the way up to the base of his head.
The veterinarians concluded that the wound was most likely a bite from another dog. Furthermore, they recounted on Facebook how the cut was “infested with maggots.” The video’s captions stated, “Now it’s time for this boy to start healing.”
Doctors began by taking steps to stop the infection. AAU described the process on Facebook as “debriding the wound, flushing, removing maggots.” They also applied a drip to help with Jupiter’s recovery and bandaged up his deep neck gash.
It wasn’t the last time that the vets would need to perform such a procedure, either. Indeed, they would repeat it many times afterwards. And the rescue video reveals that Jupiter was well-looked after in between his treatments. In the footage, viewers can see a carer sit with him as he enjoys a good meal.
The road to recovery was a long one for poor Jupiter, though, and it took six weeks for him to heal. But under the tender loving care of AAU and its staff, the dog’s wounds eventually closed. And the next time that the video shows him, Jupiter looks like a completely different dog.
He seems happy and healthy and appears to be enjoying all the pets and kisses that he’s receiving from the AAU staff. Jupiter’s gentle nature is obvious in the way that he rests his head on his carer’s arms. When AAU first met Jupiter, of course, he was close to death.
“This sweet boy might have stayed hiding until he died,” the captions on the rescue footage explain. “But Jupiter seemed to know he was on the path of healing from the first touch by the rescue team,” AAU added on Facebook. “He’s definitely a new boy, and an angel through and through.”