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Ria’s Thanksgiving

I always make a full Thanksgiving dinner even though it’s not a holiday here in Malaysia. Ria and the other dogs were excited to get treats while I was prepping the food over a couple of days. To add to the fun, another puppy, Creamy, was staying for a couple of days while her fosterer had some work done on her house. Ria loves new dog friends.

two dogs on a couch
Ria and Creamy hanging out while I was working.

She does not love new human friends. Since I live alone, she doesn’t get much interaction with people, so I was glad she’d get a chance when my friend came over. Creamy’s fosterer picked her up soon before the dinner, so I was back to four dogs in the house. Everything was almost cooked and well out of reach of them.

When my friend came, Ria started barking at him. She has met him before and had the same reaction, just not used to another human being in the house. She does happily take treats from him, however, then starts barking again, runs over to me for cuddles, gives me a big smile, runs back and barks once more.

All the dogs gathered around the table, hopefully waiting for treats during dinner, and of course, we gave them a few bites. Then, after putting most things away, we’d left the remains of the roast chicken on the table and went into the kitchen to get the pumpkin pie. Immediately, Ria leaped onto the table, grabbed the chicken and ran off with it! She did not get to finish it, of course, but she seemed proud of herself.

My friend asked if it hurts her to jump off with just one front leg. It is a hard landing for her, but it doesn’t seem to bother her. Not that I encourage jumping on the table! She’s great at climbing on things-the couch, the coffee table, the bed. Nothing seems to slow her down.

Ria’s Second Adoption Drive

I was a bit worried about taking Ria out after her ordeal, but really I don’t think she’d run anywhere as long as I’m in sight, and she’d always let me catch her. She just doesn’t want other people getting too close, and I have to work on that. There was a two-day adoption drive at a mall, and I just took Duncan the first day and decided to see about taking Ria the second day. After the first day, another puppy named Dot Dot stayed overnight since his fosterer lived out of town. Ria had fun with her and Duncan.

three puppies

On the second day, Ria went to the drive and was happy in a playpen with other puppies. She was quiet there most of the time, but jumped up excitedly with a big smile whenever I was near. At least people got to see her smile, although she backed away when they tried to pet her.

As usual, most people were interested in the younger puppies. A few asked about Ria’s story, but no one was seriously interested in her. Duncan got adopted, so I was down to five dogs at home, a manageable number! Four other puppies there found homes too (including Dot Dot), so overall it was a good weekend. Ria was exhausted after the long day.

two dogs in bed

Ria’s Great Escape

I went to the US for 2.5 weeks in mid October, which required a lot of planning for my pets. Boarding and a petsitter for my own dogs and cats, walk-in foster dog adopted, a trial adoption for Duncan the foster puppy, and that left Ria.

Since Ria had only had one vaccination, she couldn’t go to the home for disabled dogs yet, so she went to a friend’s house along with two of my foster cats. My friend is elderly and has so many rescue pets, I should have realized it might be too much for her to handle, but since Ria is usually pretty quiet and well-behaved and was going to be indoors with the cats, I thought it would be okay.

Ria was happy enough when I was there with her, and I hoped she’d settle in well. My friend told me she was fine when I first asked about her. Then I was in rural Tennessee with no access to electricity and terrible reception when my friend called. I didn’t answer. Then she texted me that it’s urgent, about Ria. My heart sank. She said Ria was missing and asked if I could do a recording of my voice for 1-2 minutes that they could play to help find her. I tried, walking around behind the tents, shouting into my phone, “Ria, Ria, Ria! Come here, puppy! Come here!” for as long as I could, hoping the reception wouldn’t go out.

It went through! At least it was something they could use, but I couldn’t get any more updates for two days as my battery was rapidly dying. Once I was back in civilization again, there was no good news. Search parties were going out every day and Ria had been seen, but no one could catch her. They were shocked at how fast a three-legged dog could run!

As I was travelling around, didn’t have roaming, and there was a time difference of 12 hours from Malaysia, it was hard to keep up with what was going on. I got different stories from different rescuers and it seemed like chaos. The only good news was that Ria was staying in mostly the same place, the grounds of a school.

Finally, after she had been missing for more than 10 days, she was caught in a humane trap and brought to a vet. She was uninjured but according to one person, “angry.” I can understand why she would be!

She stayed at the vet for five days until I came back. Apparently she barked at everyone who came near her. She was in a cage, looking completely miserable. The she saw me and her eyes lit up and her tail started wagging. She knew she was going home.

I got her second vaccination that day, but I was in no hurry to send her to the home for disabled dogs. I knew I had to keep her with me where she feels safe until I can find her a real home. She still has a place there if she really needs it, but as long as I don’t have any neighbors complaining about her, I’ll keep her till she finds the right family who will love her and spoil her like she should be.

Ria’s First Adoption Drive

I sometimes volunteer with MDDB (Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better), helping out at adoption drives, and one of my own dogs, Penny, is a foster fail from them. After hearing Ria’s story, they offered her a place in their home for disabled dogs, which was a huge relief since at least I’d know she’d have a safe place to go if I couldn’t keep caring for her or get her adopted. I got her her first vaccination, and my friend suggested I bring her to MDDB’s adoption drive, not officially up for adoption yet, but just to get out and get accustomed to people.

Ria had a new friend, a short-term foster puppy Duncan, who got along well with all the dogs. Poor Duncan had a traumatic story too, the only survivor after his siblings were beaten to death at a construction site, but he never lost his happy smile. He was excited to go to the drive. Ria was not so excited at first.

Once at the mall, however, Ria started to relax, especially after she was given her own place in a comfy wagon! She spent the whole day there, either sitting up and smiling or napping. Not many people came near her as they were more interested in the smaller puppies in the playpens. But there was one lady who spent some time with her whose name was coincidentally also Ria (Rhea?)! Too bad she lived in a place that didn’t allow dogs.

Overall, it was a good experience for Ria. Even though she wasn’t completely comfortable with strangers, she seemed to enjoy herself. She was worn out when she got home that night.

Ria’s Road to Recovery

With proper pain medication and the tick fever treatment, Ria’s personality began to shine. She wagged her tail enthusiastically whenever she saw me, and she was happy for Patches, my cat who passionately loves all dogs, to playfully bat at her and cuddle up next to the playpen.

I still kept her in the playpen most of the time because while my dogs are very friendly, they can be a bit over-enthusiastic. She was active even the playpen, and about a week post-surgery, I noticed she was developing a bulge near her incision. Thanks to Tripawds again, I recognized it was probably a seroma. I contacted my vet and sent them photos, and they said it did look like a seroma, and to just monitor it and put hot compresses on it 2-3 times a day. Within a week, it had gotten back to normal.

After two weeks, she managed to climb out of the playpen herself, so I decided it was fine for her to be out and only go in for feedings and to sleep at night. My dogs got along well with her and were gentle for the most part.

Around this time, I had another surprise guest, a dog who looked like a pet followed me home from a run, went right into the house and made herself at home (turn out to be abandoned and has since been adopted)! I was worried about Ria since this dog was not so friendly with my dogs, but Ria and the walk-in were okay.

At three weeks post-surgery, Ria had another blood test which was normal, and she had her stitches removed! Of course, I’d said I would only foster her for 2-3 weeks, but her rescuers didn’t seem to be too interested in her, and I wanted to be sure she was safe. Keeping her permanently isn’t an option, but at least I wanted her to have her best chance at a good life.

Happy dog in a cone
Little Ria the Survivor is brought to you by Tripawds.