Friday, October 25, 2019

Rescue Stories - Nora: Found Her Forever Home in Brooklyn After Being Found Bleeding on the Streets of Iran

Hello, and Happy Friday! I am super excited to share today's rescue story with you! And it's our first story about a dog! We've been very good friends with Kai and his brother George on Facebook for a very long time, and our moms are friends, too. Kai and George's mom and dad adopted Nora, who was badly injured in Iran. Nora is a lucky dog - almost as lucky as her family is. I'm proud to introduce you to Nora!

Lola

rescue stories



Nora was found bleeding by the side of the road in a small rural town in Mazandaran province in northern Iran, right before Persian New Year (Nowruz) in March of 2015. Her right front leg was severed right above the elbow, and she had lost a lot of blood. A good samaritan picked her up and brought her to a small veterinary clinic for help. The clinic was not well equipped and mostly served livestock, and all they could do for her were crude measures to stop the bleeding and antibiotics. Her leg appeared to have been cut clean off by a chainsaw. Cruelty to feral stray dogs is all too common in Iran since due to religion and tradition dogs are considered dirty. Keeping a dog as a household pet is illegal. People in Teheran and other big cities still do keep pet dogs, but they risk having their dog confiscated by the government at any time if they take them out for walks in public. Street dogs are routinely rounded up and killed by the government and mistreated and abused by people who don’t want them around. 

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Nora in Iran

Nora was kept at the clinic for weeks. When she was well enough to be discharged, the kind person who found her took her home to his family and cared for her there. In spite of the official stance on dogs in Iran, there are wonderful and compassionate animal loving people who risk everything to save and care for street dogs. Nora’s rescuer reached out to one of these sanctuaries to get advice and help on what to do to best help her. They couldn’t keep her long term, so something had to be done. 

The dog sanctuary they reached out to had contacts abroad. Adoption isn’t really an option in Iran, so they work with rescues both in Europe and the US. They focus on getting the special needs dogs, in particular, transported out of Iran for treatment and adoption abroad. ARME/Beagle Freedom Project in the USA saw Nora’s story on Facebook and agreed to take her on. 

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Nora at Animal Medical Center on the day of her amputation surgery

In June of 2015, Nora was put on a flight to Toronto, Canada. She was then transported by car from Toronto to New York where she was scheduled to undergo amputation surgery of what was left of her leg just a few days later. A foster home had been found in NY, and everything seemed to go according to plan…..until it didn’t. This is when we learned about Nora.

Nora’s foster home soon realized they were not equipped to care for a severely traumatized dog. We received a call that same afternoon from the founder of the rescue in charge of her asking if we knew of anyone willing to step up as an emergency foster. Having been involved in rescue for over a decade, we knew this rescue well. They had nowhere for Nora to go other than back to her transporter in Toronto, meaning she would miss her free treatment at Animal Medical Center in New York City (under their ‘AMC to the Rescue’ program.) We had just moved into a big house and had more than enough room to keep a dog securely separated from our 2 cats, though not ideal. We immediately offered to take Nora in and see her through her operation and recovery until a more suitable foster could be found. 


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Nora getting laser treatment

Famous last words…..needless to say, we fell head over heels in love with this incredibly brave dog in no time. She was so scared but seemed to immediately trust my husband and me. We were not too hopeful when the rescue asked us to test her with our 2 cats since she would chase any stray cat she saw out on walks. When we brought her upstairs on a leash to meet with Kai and George, our 2 rescue cats, she seemed to immediately sense that this was their home. No barking, no attempts to chase – just curiosity. 

A few days later I brought her to AMC to be admitted for her amputation. The surgery went well, and she stayed in the hospital for 2 days. We visited her daily, and even took her out for a short walk the day after her amputation! She was so happy to see us, and so incredibly brave through it all. We knew right then that we HAD to adopt her and make her part of our family. By the time she was released from the hospital we had already applied to adopt and signed the adoption papers. Welcome home, Nora! 


rescue stories
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 Nora has been part of our family for a little over 4 years now, and it has been challenging at times but so worth it. Her medical issues kept coming. First, she suffered from phantom limb pain. She would stop in her tracks out of nowhere and scream the most horrifying scream we had ever heard while snapping her mouth in the air where her leg used to be. After some research and discussion with her veterinarians, we decided to try acupuncture for her phantom limb pain. Acupuncture is even used by the US military when treating veterans with amputations, so we were hopeful. The acupuncture was amazing! It didn’t take many sessions before her neuropathic pain was gone. 

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Nora and Kai

Less than a year later, we heard that heart shattering scream again……but this time it was different. It didn’t pass after a few minutes like it had with the phantom limb pain. It seemed to go on forever and Nora would hide when the pain hit, not wanting to be touched at all. This was new as well. We rushed her to the ER at Animal Medical Center where they treated her pain and diagnosed her with IVDD( Intervertebral disc disease.)  An MRI later confirmed she had ruptured a disc in her neck. Surgery would be risky and would put more pressure on the rest of her discs after fusing the damaged disc, just risking another ruptured disc down the line. So the neurologists at AMC recommended treating it with medications for nerve pain along with strict rest for a month. We also went back to acupuncture and added cold laser to her treatments. We got her a doggie wheelchair and lovingly nicknamed her our ‘bitch on wheels’, but Nora was not a fan. She was still way too mobile on 3 legs, and all the wheels did was slow her down. 

rescue stories
Nora and George

She will have to be on the meds for nerve pain for the rest of her life, but she is doing well and living pain free so far. Being a ‘tripawd’ is in itself a high impact activity, so we have to limit her activity slightly. No jumping on and off tall furniture, we carry her up and downstairs,  and play with other dogs (which can get rough) has to be kept to a minimum and closely supervised. As she’s gotten older this has gotten a little easier. When this first happened she was a super energetic dog, bouncing around like she had no idea there was anything different about her. The times she had to be put on strict rest for her neck injury was a challenge, to say the least. Keeping her still was like trying to nail soup to the wall – impossible! 

During the first year she got into kind of a strange habit of meticulously amputating the corresponding leg she was missing on all her favorite plush squeaky toy animals. It was eerie! When it first happened to her favorite plush monkey, we laughed at the ‘coincidence’……then they just kept on coming…..one after the other, missing their front right arm!!! She’s incredibly intelligent!

Her medical challenges were only matched by her behavioral issues. Frankly, I don’t blame her one bit for being terrified of the world – but her response to fear was aggression. During walks, she would lunge and bark at everything and everyone. She was especially terrified of kids, shopping carts, strollers, anything on wheels. She also wouldn’t let ANYONE but us into our house. It didn’t matter that they were invited guests, she treated them like they were armed intruders. It took almost a year of intensive work with a dog behaviorist to get her to the point where she would allow us to bring in visitors without getting fear aggressive. Still to this day, we cannot bring another dog into our house. Even dogs she’s friends without in the yard will turn from friend to enemy the second they cross the threshold of our house. Cats are ok though…she LOVES cats, and we can and have brought home numerous strays and fosters that she instantly loves. 

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Nora shopping for toys

Kai and George have been her buddies almost from day one. George especially will headbutt and snuggle with her all the time. Kai does too, as long as she keeps her wet nose and slobbery mouth away from him. We also have 2 feral cats we had TNR’ed living in our back yard who are more scared of us than they are of Nora. Nora hangs out back there with them peacefully, and they are perfectly comfortable around her. 

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Nora's happy life!


Life with Nora has taught us so much. Live life in the moment – power on in spite of your challenges and keep an open heart and mind. There is nothing you can not overcome when you have love and support in your life. It has truly been a privilege to be on this journey with her – and we know there are many more adventures in our future. 

Nora lives in Brooklyn NY with her parents, Vibeke and Creig, and her two kitty brothers George and Kai. Visit Kai Kobayashi on Facebook for more photos of Nora, Kai, and George.

16 comments:

  1. Heartbreak, and yet delightful and happy ending. The power of love and trust is magical beyond words.
    Purrs
    ERin

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  2. Even with all of her challenges, Nora is such a special being!

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  3. I'm happy that Nora ended up in the perfect home -- one that was willing to work with her and treat her ongoing medical issues. As a mom to a dog who has had three ruptured discs and spinal surgeries, I can so sympathize! I'm also glad that the acupuncture helped with the phantom limb pain.

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  4. oh my gosh you are the most wonderful people....that poor dog and I should say those poor dogs over there being so mistreated. I truly do not understand. Thank you thank you for what you have done and are doing. oxoxo

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  5. Nora is one special dog...quite the fighter. Thank you for sharing her story with all of us.

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  6. That was an amazing story of a truly amazing dog, we are so happy for dear Nora!

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  7. What an amazing story!!! I'm so happy special Nora found such a perfect home.

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  8. I am glad Nora got her forever home. I wish all dogs and cats were as fortunate. XO

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  9. We just love Nora and her parents so much!

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  10. What a beautiful story ! We're so glad Nora found her forever home ! Purrs

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  11. We are so pleased that Nora found a wonderful home. Such an amazing dog - so much love in her eyes despite her suffering.

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

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  12. Thank you, Lola and Mommy for this wonderful uplifting story. The tragedy there in Iran for Nora was beyond intense. Her rescue was a blessed event. I was glad to read this wonderful story and its good news about Nora.

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  13. What a wonderful story of a dog that beat the odds. Iran... Yeah... Ugh.
    We are glad she has her phantom limb pain under control. Dad has an amputation and when he starts yelling "Owwww" every minute or so we know its cuddle time. Great that Nora loves cats and is learning to be ok with visitors. A testament to great parents who truly love their pets unconditionally and isnt that what it is all about. Great story

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  14. Nora's story is amazing! We are so grateful that she has found her perfect happily ever after. XO

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  15. What a truly incredible story! So lucky for everyone!

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  16. What a beautiful pup! We're glad her story has a happy ending.

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