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Early in the morning, several dogs started barking at a 300 square meter house located in the middle of a farm in Hung Long Township, Binh Chanh District, Saigon.
Knowing that the dogs are hungry, owner Nguyen Thi Ngoc divides the cooked rice into portions for the animals, most of whom are paralyzed.
Some dogs try to crawl to the rice on their two paws, others, completely still, lie on the ground and moan.
Ngoc takes care of a hundred paralyzed cats and dogs. Photo by VnExpress / Diep Phan.
After the animals have finished their meals, Ngoc begins his “physiotherapy session” with Dua Kho, a dog with all four legs paralyzed and abandoned in Tien Giang province in the Mekong Delta. The 46-year-old pours medicinal alcohol on Dua Kho’s legs, which she massages to stimulate muscles and nerves, before placing the small dog in a handmade wheelchair.
“I treated him for a week. He can walk as long as he has the wheelchair,” Ngoc said. Previously, Hang, a 51-year-old American, hired a friend to save Dua Kho and send her to Ngoc.
“No one wanted to adopt him for the first three days after his rescue. Fortunately, thanks to Ngoc, he can now walk,” Hang said.
Ngoc, a cat and dog lover, has spent the past six years rescuing and treating disabled dogs and felines. The call came to her accidentally, when she heard a meow in the street and discovered it had been made by a paralyzed cat. She brought the cat home by naming it Plus.
Living in Saigon District 2 with the Paralyzed Plus, Ngoc began studying physiotherapy, hoping to breathe new life into his feline friend. With the help of the internet, she made a wheelchair out of water pipes and a belt. It was the first time Ngoc had used a saw, screws and nails, resulting in a strange scratch.
While placing Plus in the new wheelchair, she saw the cat trying to move its two front legs as if it were walking.
“She did not fully recover, but could eat and gain weight, and lived with me for a year. Since then, I have thought that if cats and dogs with disabilities are cared for and have the ability to move around , they could be rehabilitated “. Ngoc said. “Please don’t abandon them.”
Ngoc makes an animal wheelchair from pipes. Photo by VnExpress / Diep Phan.
Now, whenever Ngoc encounters disabled cats or dogs, she brings them home and makes them wheelchairs. When they recover, she finds new owners for them. Those severely paralyzed stay with Ngoc.
“I make sure I find the right families for them. I usually ask for new owners’ addresses and visit their homes before picking up my ‘babies’, ”Ngoc said.
At first, Ngoc struggled to care for all of his new animals, leading to the deaths of several dogs and cats. Later, she decided to only take the abandoned animals that she had saved herself, or those delivered by acquaintances.
“When people are dirty they can take a bath, dogs and cats cannot. I decided to take care of them so I have to get up, ”she says.
Besides feeding himself, Ngoc also spends his money and efforts on treatment. Some recover and can walk after a while, but some remain paralyzed for the rest of their lives.
To save more money, Ngoc starts working as a motorcycle taxi driver. She wakes up at 5 a.m. but doesn’t go out into the streets until noon, after taking care of her animals.
“Only a few people in Saigon could do it because it’s hard work,” said Kim Anh, 30, from District 4.
“The child” Ngoc remembers the most is King. Three years ago, she accidentally received a call for help from a friend in Hanoi regarding an electrocuted and thrown dog on the last day of the Lunar New Year. With no animal clinics open, the girl had brought home the dog, who was later named King. Her legs became necrotic after four days and had to be removed. No one wanted to take care of a legless dog with bleeding wounds.
“If the dog can be transported to Saigon, I will take care of him,” Ngoc told her friend. Thanks to Ngoc’s later efforts, Roi recovered after a month, but still struggles to move without legs.
The happy “mother” and the children. Photo by VnExpress / Diep Phan.
At lunchtime, Ngoc has just finished a delivery slip and opens his phone to watch his animals through the camera at home. Seeing Vang, having two hind legs paralyzed, wanting to bite another dog, she talks on the phone: “Hey Vang, don’t bully your friend.”
The dogs at the house, hearing Ngoc’s voice on the speaker, look around and stop fighting.
In the sagging house, two fans run around the clock to keep the animals cool in the scorching sun. They lie and sleep when the sunlight shines through the metal roof and their “mother” is at work.
“Now that means happiness to me,” Ngoc said with a smile before going to find another client.