After three surgeries and two amputated legs, a 7-year-old dog who was run over by a train at Mahalaxmi railway station in March, has found a home and has started to walk on its own again.
Anaya, a female stray living near Mahalaxmi station, was found grievously injured on the morning of March 13. A person who spotted her lying on the train tracks contacted the Welfare of Stray Dogs (WSD), a Mumbai-based NGO working to care for strays. Gunjan Singh, a field assistant manager with WSD who responded to the call, said the initial prognosis was poor. “We think it had been hit by a train on March 12 and had bled the whole night. Its front legs were completely damaged,” he said.
Singh rushed Anaya to the Bombay Veterinary College in Parel, where surgical student Dr Tanaya Pai operated on Anaya under the guidance of Dr D U Lokhande, head of department (Surgery and Radiology) and Dr G S Khandekar.
The doctors performed an emergency surgery to amputate one of Anaya’s severely damaged forelegs, only to come up with a post-operation complication — a burst bladder.
The doctors speculate that her bladder burst due to the trauma of the accident and during transportation to the hospital. Another surgery followed and it was only a week-and-half later that the doctors could amputate her second foreleg. “She had always been fighting. But the thing is, when both forelegs are cut off and only stumps remain, without someone looking after them, dogs do not do very well,” said Dr Pai. That meant Singh stayed through Anaya’s side in the hospital each day and ordered a special bed for her to rest on so she would not contract bedsores.
The doctors then turned their attention to helping Anaya regain independence of movement. Prosthetics were ruled out as Anaya had lost a joint in her forelegs in the accident. And with no carts available to replace the forelimbs, the doctors started designing a PVC model. “We were able to customise measurements and design the cart at a fraction of what it would cost if we had ordered it online,” said Pai. Even so, it required significant trial and error and the team had to discard its first couple of designs before finding one that fit.
While Anaya continued her recovery, Singh sounded out potential adopters for her, finally deciding on a friend who lives with two other dogs. “The adopter is a freelance professional so she is able to give a lot of time to her dogs,” added Singh.
Last month, after spending 56 days in hospital, Anaya went home to Akshata Pembhre, who lives in south Mumbai. Singh, who visits her regularly, said that Anaya has learned to walk on her hind legs and moves around her new home independently. “Akshata also harnesses her to the cart and walks her a couple of hours every day so she becomes used to it”, he said.