Tag Archives: Penny

Past half way

The new manager is here! Hooray! And I have finally had a day off, yay!

Things have been relatively quiet recently. We have still had dogs coming in regularly, although thankfully not huge litters of puppies or anything.

Talking of puppies, Tiger mum, a dog we rescued from the village that was at risk of being hanged by villagers, has had her puppies. 3 girls and a boy. All are big strapping pups, and she is doing very well being a mum. Also Simon, the puppy I am hand rearing, is doing great. He has been started on solid food, he loves a good adventurise around the office. He’ll be all grown up soon and won’t need his adoptive mummy.  The squirrel I am hand rearing is also doing well. Her eyes have opened and she is getting very brave, climbing up and down my arm when I am trying to feed her.  She won’t be on solid food for another week or so, despite being about a week older than Simon. I have been doing lots of Googling and I’m hoping I can full rear her. She is certainly doing a lot better than we expected when she first was found.

We had a dog brought to us about 2 weeks ago. I had received a phone call about a street dog with ‘worms crawling out his ears’. Turns out that meant a massive maggot infestation. Not only that but his ear was grossly swollen, as were his lymph nodes. He also had hair loss and was incredibly underweight. Despite probably being in massive amounts of pain, he sat very patiently while the vet and nurse pulled out 100+ maggots from his ear.  Stray dogs amaze me. It’s as if they know we are helping them. The often just sit patiently during treatment and just accept it knowing it will make them feel better. I named him Snarf and he has improved quite a lot on a short space of time. He still has a fair amount of recovering to do, but he is certainly in less discomfort. Sadly a lot of the tissue inside his ear was necrotic and was removed. He may need some surgery in the future but at the moment he is just concentrating on recovering.



I am now officially past the half-way point of my time here in Sri Lanka. Today is day 109 of 187. To be honest the time has flown past. In some respects it feels like I have been here forever, but so much has happened, and months keep just rolling round that I can’t believe we are in July! It’s been strange this year because I haven’t had the normal markers – Easter, summer holidays, family members birthdays, bank holidays etc – to see the year rolling past, so I am going to go home in September and it will still feel like March to me!

So not only is it less than 3 months until *I* go home, but it is also less than 3 months til I get to take a dog home to live with me. You didn’t honestly think I would come out here, work with 500+ dogs and not fall in love with one?


Isnt she classy?

Her name is Penny and she was brought in not long before I got here. She was found on the beach with a litter of 6 puppies. She was housed, with her puppies, in a room behind my office and she would stand up on a ledge looking out and wanting attention. So I would go outside and chat to her. I didn’t know her name, so I started calling her Mummy Dog (turns out her registered name here is Amber – I have renamed her Penny as that’s the name she’ll have back home) and would just give her pats and chat to her. Once her puppies were big enough, she would come out for a while during the day and she would always come find me and want to get into the office with me. Well she is now a permanent feature in the office, and if I am not in the office she is clamped to my ankle following me around. She has even figured out how to open doors so she can find me if I am in the clinic. She even once managed to get the front door to my flat opened!

Her puppies have all grown up and have either been rehomed or are out in the pack here. Penny doesn’t fit very well into the pack here and is incredibly submissive with some dogs, and terrified of others. She has a wee crew round the back of the building, where she sleeps at night. It is mainly made up of her, her boyfriend Clooney and a bunch of 4 -6 month old puppies that she can boss around.


Sharing a romantic meal with Clooney

I felt that she really would be a good pet. She’s got a lovely temperament, she’s a good size and she doesn’t fit in here, she’s very much a people dog. So I had to work on my parents a little, but eventually they agreed I could bring her back (my mum, who took the most convincing, is now beside herself with excitement. She has even gone shopping for a dog walking jacket!). I had to get a sample of her blood sent back to the UK to be tested to make sure she has antibodies against rabies (all the dogs here are vaccinated against rabies) which she does, so we have her certificate. That means she won’t need to go in to quarantine when we land, she can come straight home with me. All that is left to do is get her a crate built, and get her on the plane home! After her blood test, I have to wait 3 months before she can fly. That would be the end of August, and I fly home in September anyway so that’s when she will fly too. I am hoping to get her on the same flights as me, if not then at least flights on the same day.

I am super tres excited about having a dog at home, although she may not appreciate the cold Scottish weather. I’ll buy her a wee jacket and booties to keep her cosy.


I think she is excited too!



Ok, so I have attempted to gather together as much of the interesting things that have happened while I have been here. In all honestly, I just cant remember half the stuff thats gone on. However a brief overview of my time here so far goes a little like this:

On March 21st, while in Heathrow airport terminal 5 I saw Jeremy Clarkson. That was quite cool.

On April 3rd, while on a trip to Colombo with my boss Kim, I helped bring back 3 dogs and a cat. 2 dogs were disabled – Gertie and Nadeeka. Both have sadly passed away (Gertie had an advanced respitory infection and Nadeeka from Babesia), there was a puppy named Timothy who was suffering from mange. He has now recovered. And the cat was named Zsa Zsa, who is also disabled and is living in my flat with me, the other manager and Betty the kitten. I believe Zsa Zsa had been hit by a vehicle and had then been abandoned at the vet by his owner (yes he’s a boy. We named him before we thought to check his sex, and Zsa Zsa just stuck, dahling.)

On the 4th of April I dealt with my first case of rabies. It was sad, as there is no cure for rabies, and as a result the puppy had to be put to sleep. This is the only option once a dog, or any animal, has developed rabies. It is a slow, painful and stressful death otherwise. I hope that is the only case of rabies I ever see. We vaccinate all our dogs at the sanctuary against rabies, as well as any dog we deal with at outreach, and all the staff have rabies vaccinations annually. Its just not something to mess about with.

On April 11th I rescued Campbell (see previous post). He is now out of his enclosure and living freely with the pack in the hospital acre. He is so happy in life and its lovely to see his tail wagging everyday and a bright sparkle in his eyes.

22nd of April saw me go out to sea in an attempt to see some whales. 7 hours later and we gave up. The whales were hiding 😦

On April 24th my older sister text me to say that the local news paper from the town in which I grew up wanted to run an article on me and what I was doing out here. The article was published on May 1st. So I’m a little bit famous 🙂 It was over two pages and explained what I am doing out here and had some pictures. It was pretty cool. Unfortunately there have been no paparazzi…

There was the loudest and biggest thunder storm I have ever witnessed on May 4th. I was sitting in the kitchen having lunch, and looking out over the trees in the jungle when suddenly there was this long BANG of thunder and then a crackle in the air. Betty, the kitten in the flat, jumped about 4 feet into the air and skittered under the sofa, where she stayed for the rest of the day. The rain out here is amazing too. We are just coming in to monsoon season so the sun will be splitting the sky one minute, then the heaviest rain you ever saw the next, and there is lightening every night.

2 days after the storm, on May 6th, Gloria (previous post) got her blood transfusion. I don’t have alot of experience with veterinary medicine or seeing procedures etc, so I like to try and be in or around when anything interesting is happening. But Gloria’s transfusion really upset me. She had just lost the will to live. And I sat with her, trying to make her feel happy and talking to her and to make sure she had company. It was really quite upsetting when she passed away.

On May 12th we had a disabled dog come in. It was a 5 month old puppy who had been injured 3 months previously. She had a spinal fracture, and fractures to both back legs that had fused, meaning she is very unlikely to ever walk again. However she is beautiful and adorable and has been named Sarah, after my younger sister. She still acts like a puppy, and irritates all the other disabled dogs she is living with (6 grumpy old girls, who I love very much). She loves a good chin scratch and goes into a wee trance if you get just the right spot. She puts a smile on my face every day.

The 13th of May was a miserable day for me. I fell ill with Jungle Plague….which is flu, basically, but dramatized as I am in the jungle. There is nothing worse than being ill away from home. But what is worse is being ill at your work! I live in a flat directly above the clinic and kennels for sick dogs, so even though I spent 4 days in bed with my plague, I could hear everything going on at work. And for the first time ever actually felt guilty about taking time off sick!

May 23rd was a very exciting day for me for 2 reasons. First of all I should explain that when I go home in September, I am taking one of the dogs with me. A girl who has come to be known as Mummy Dog. When I arrived here in March, she was in an enclosure behind my office, with a litter of 6 puppies. She would stand at the front of her enclosure looking out, just wanting someone to talk to her. SO, since i didnt know her name, I would go up and pat her and say ‘Hello, mummy dog’ and give her some attention. Once her puppies were bigger and she could come out for some alone time away from them, she would come to me for attention. Now she is my shadow, sitting in the office with me. If she cant find me she will properly go looking for me. She has figured out how to open doors and will open the door to the clinic, if i am not in there she will come up to the flat front door and try to get in. Shes a character and a half, and was clearly born to be a pet. She doesnt get on with most of the other dogs here (except her boyfriend Clooney) and becomes very submissive and scared around them (which is why I started letting her into the office) so I feel she will truly be happy as a pet dog. I couldn’t leave her behind when I leave, I think it would be traumatic for both of us. So in order for her to come back to the UK, a sample of her blood needs to be tested to ensure she is protected against rabies. On May 23rd Mummy Dogs blood sample was sent off, and I am waiting for the results.I hope that it comes back ok. She has had her vaccination, so it should be fine, but you never know! (FYI, her registered name here is Amber, but I dont think it suits her, so she is being renamed Penny. However I think Mummy Dog is going to stick)

The final very exciting thing that happened on the 23rd was to do with one of the disabled dogs – Estelle. She had been paralysed after being struck by a vehicle and cant use her back legs. We give the disabled dogs physio and hydrotherapy (in the ocean!!). Some of them will never walk again, but the physio and hydro is just nice for them to do. However with Estelle, I was sure she would be able to walk again, so I have made it my mission. Well just 5 days ago Estelle stood unaided and weight bared for about 30 seconds!!! Then i helped her up again and she took a step! I almost cried I was so happy. We are getting there and I have every confidence that she will walk. She is another incredibly sweet, loving dog that I just want to have a wonderful happy life.

Anyway there are about a billion other things that have happened while I have been here. From here on in I will try to do a post once or twice a week, letting you get to know some of the brilliant dogs that are here, and the new stories as they come in.