It’s was December and the festive mood was definitely growing with each day as we moved towards holidays and Christmas. I had a gap between seeing patients so I took a moment to breathe. Then my phone rang.... I picked it up and hesitated for a moment to answer... do I want to take this call from an unknown number.... Could it be yet another dog in distress.... I hope not.....

“Charnell speaking hello?” “Yes. Good day, is that Husky Rescue?” ....... Damn..... why did I take this call..... “Yes it is. How can I help you?” “I am hoping you can. I live in Durban and rescued a stray husky from the street. She is not in a good condition and I am afraid to take her to the SPCA in case they simply put her down. I can’t keep her as I live in a complex. She seems very sweet but may have been in an accident because there are sores on her side....”

And with each word spoken ̧ my heart dropped another notch.... Another husky in an already over full rescue home and even more money – that I don’t have – for more vet bills ..... how do I say no ??? I hesitated and the lady on the other side of the phone noticed it....

“I am willing to pay for her bills if you will please just take her in and take care of her. Please consider it?” Now I could definitely not refuse!!

So arrangements were made to get yet another orphan to our Husky Rescue home in Cato Ridge. Little did we know the mountain that we would have to climb with this little girl.

First things first – we named her Beauty, that which we wanted her to aspire to, and become. After her initial visit to the vet we determined that the sores are not wounds but in fact a secondary infection as a result of demodectic mange. And so Beauty was put onto a strong course of antibiotics and a 6 week course of treatment consisting of dips and injections to deal with the mange. Never in my wildest dreams though, could I have foreseen what Beauty would have to endure on her way to becoming better. What we saw when she arrived was only the tip of the iceberg.

As the days ensued her entire little body erupted into a massive sore. She lost all her hair, she was constantly bleeding from the horrendous and malodorous secondary skin infection she had to endure as a result of the mange. It was virtually impossible to handle her as she was in so much pain. Picking her up or putting a lead on her were tasks that we take for granted – but caused Beauty great distress. It looked as though Beauty would never heal, and within the first month, I thought we may have to let go and put this poor girl out of her misery. But I decided to persevere.

6 weeks of mange and antibiotic treatment and finally the painful infection started clearing up and her hair started growing back. In all this time she did not mix with the other dogs or go outside. She had retreated into her own little world and did not want to know anything but her bed in our bathroom. We were so pleased to see the first thin layer of fur growing back and slowly cover her naked little body. As her fur grew, so too did her confidence and desire to mingle and begin to play with the other dogs. Finally we could relax and start enjoying Beauty. In all this time, Beauty’s rescuer kept in close contact with us and whenever Beauty needed any medical care she would willingly assist with the financial side. Beauty’s progress continued, and all who had been to visit and saw her condition were as pleased as we were that she was on the mend.

Just as we thought the battle had been won we noticed a couple of little scabs on her head. I certainly did not pay much attention to them as they did not seem like anything to worry about. And before I could wipe my eyes out the mange and secondary skin infection flared up again. I was horrified and very confused. We had done everything by the book and completed all the treatment protocols and yet here we were back to square one.

Sarcoptic mange is the infectious mange you will typically see on township dogs for instance. It is generally not as bad as demodectic mange and certainly much easier to treat. Demodectic mange on the other hand, results directly from a dysfunctional immune system and is much more difficult to treat.

After seeking a second opinion we realized that we should have continued monthly treatments for a longer period of time following the initial weekly treatment regime of 6 weeks. So back onto mange and antibiotic treatment following the same cycle again. Once again she erupted into a giant walking, smelly, bleeding sore, while losing all her hair. And of course, she retreated back into her little world again. Once again we stood before the unpleasant decision of having her put out of her misery......

We had her on numerous supplements during this time to assist her recovery process. We had assistance from not only her rescuer, but also from Farrah and Arlene Maharajh from Feeding the Furballs NPO. These 2 precious ladies organized donations of special food to help with the skin problem. They also brought Beauty a sheepskin bed and blanket to make her life a little more comfortable. Finally Beauty came around into remission once more.

In the mean time she was unsterilized and had already been through two seasons in the year she had been in our care. Four months after her full recovery, I booked her in and had her spayed. Within the next month she started showing signs of yet another relapse but we whisked her off to the vet so fast she did not even know she was in the car!! There was no ways I was walking this road for a third time. Fortunately we were able to nip it in the bud and she recovered quickly and well. Many lessons were learnt from Beauty during this very painful journey with her. Today Beauty is full of the joys of life and brags with a gorgeous thick fur coat and is waiting patiently for her forever home. One thing is for sure, Beauty would never have survived fending for herself while having to endure all that she had come through.

We are happy to share her happy ever after with you with her adoption in December 2015 by an awesome family. She enjoys jumping on the trampoline, car rides and beach runs. She has truly blossomed in the Beauty we envisaged her to be.