There are stories out there that will make you want to cry your eyes out and swear the human race at the same time. Unfortunately, this is one of those stories, but it’s also a story about strength, forgiveness, and redemption of the puppy spirit. This story begins with a pup named Suzi, who was found unresponsive, lying on the sidewalk in a shady part of town. Suzi couldn’t walk and the animal control officers that responded to the call couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her.
The officers of animal control were told by neighbors that they thought that neighborhood kids had injected the dog with drugs. So the officers gave the dog a test and their suspicions were confirmed. The test showed that the dog had THC and cocaine in her system. Cocaine can have an adverse reaction on the body that involves multiple systems, such as the behavioral system and the central nervous system. Signs of cocaine abuse can include depression, hyperactivity, and panting. Serious effects like seizures that lead to death can also occur. Needless to say, Suzi was in danger.
Suzi was immediately rushed to Faithful Friends Animal Society, where the team of veterinarians hooked her up to an IV to give her fluids to try to flush out the drugs in her system. That’s when they realized Suzi was only about a year old. Kevin Rentz, marketing manager for Faithful Friends Animal Society, told The Dodo, “When she first arrived, she was unable to walk, stand, eat or drink.”
“Our vets had never seen a mistreatment dealing with narcotics like this. It was heartbreaking,” said Kevin. The saddest part of the whole thing was that she was just an innocent animal that probably didn’t even have a home. The kids who did this were obviously not the most upstanding citizens and were using drugs themselves, injected this poor dog and she was made to deal with the consequences. Would she even make it?
Suzi was hooked up to the IV for two days and the staff hoped that it would flush the drugs out as soon as possible. They also had to make sure that she was kept comfortable in her crate and she felt safe at all times – something she probably hadn’t experienced in awhile. “She could barely hold her head up and was barely responsive. You could tell she did not know what was going on,” said Kevin.
After a few days of 24/7 care, Suzi started to feel a lot better and she began to use her sweet demeanor to win the hearts of the vet team. “She stole the hearts of all the vets and techs here. Once the drugs had started leaving her system, you could see her personality perk up,” said Kevin. But she still needed more recovery time. Would Suzi fully recovery?
Suzi received a few more days of nourishment and fluids. Soon after, she was playing with toys and running around outside. The staff figured that Suzi had never gotten the chance to run around and play before. “She wouldn’t let her ball out of her sight,” said Kevin. Suzi and her incredible story ended up being on the local news. It didn’t take long for people to begin showing up at the shelter to meet her. A family from Delaware wanted to adopt her, so they rushed to the shelter to get there first.
Aida Alicea and her family got to the shelter as soon as they could. “We were devastated to hear that someone, especially kids, would do something so cruel. When we saw her for the first time, she was laying in the shelter cage and she just looked up at us. She was so calm, never barked, not fazed by all the barking around her,” said Rosa Alicea, Aida’s daughter. The entire family fell in love with Suzi – and Suzi felt the same way.
Suzi was adopted on St. Patrick’s Day and the entire family was more than happy. The only evidence left of Suzi’s ordeal was the tiny spot of shaved fur where the IV was. Suzi’s new family says that she likes playing outside, cuddling with her new mom and dad, and like most dogs, chasing her ball all over the place. This story may have started out sad, but it sure does have a happy ending. Unfortunately, Suzi isn’t the only dog that’s had to deal with the consequences of being injected with drugs.
The largest opium cultivation in the world, approximately 93% of all opium, can be found in Afghanistan. Homeless addicts can be see all over the streets of Kabul, and homeless dogs are abundant in the area, as well. One of those dogs is named Nesha, meaning “intoxication” in Dari, one of the national languages of Afghanistan. Nesha was taken in by an addicted homeless man that lived under a bridge, who then passed his addiction onto the dog. And just like Suzi, Nesha had no idea what was happening to her.
Some kids from the neighborhood recorded a video of Nesha being forced to consume drugs. It wasn’t long before the video to make it’s way to Afghanistan’s social media platform. Thousands of people viewed the video in only a few hours. The video showed Nesha rubbing her head against the bridge walls in obvious discomfort. It didn’t take long for the video to catch the attention of the local news.
Hannah Surowinski, cofounder of Nowzad, Afghanistan’s only animal shelter said, “Our veterinarians were horrified to see a dog being treated like this. Without any thought for his own safety, our veterinarian Dr. Mujtaba Rezaei immediately went down to the notorious area where all the drug addicts live and managed to rescue Nesha.” The rescue would be a risky one, especially since the owner didn’t want to give her up. It certainly was a unique rescue.
“Nesha’s was the first case of a dog addicted to opioids we came across, but since Nesha we have heard of other dogs in the same area whose owners have made them reliant on heroin. She was very weak and could not walk properly. She was so dependent on the drugs that she would bang her head against the wall if she didn’t get her “fix.” She was also very dirty and extremely smelly,” said vet Mujtaba Rezaie. Nesha was cleaned up and her wounds were treated, but due to the drugs making her legs so weak, there wasn’t much hope that Nesha would walk on her own ever again.
Luckily, Nesha wanted to fight. Nesha not only kicked her horrible addiction to opiates, but after using her wheelchair every single day for months, she was able to regain her ability to walk on her own. “It was something we thought might not be possible, and were excited when it happened,” Rezaie added. Just imagine the horrible condition Nesha was in when she was found! It’s unbelievable that she’s able to walk on her own now!
It took months of care, but Nesha’s rescuers finally announced that she was ready to be adopted. Brock Ditto, from Burlington, Kansas, knew that Nesha was perfect for him so he applied to adopt her. Unfortunately, it’s pretty expensive to fly a dog from Afghanistan to America – roughly $4,000 – so Nowzad set up a fundraiser online to help with the cost of getting Nesha to her new home. “I can’t wait to get her here and give her the attention and love that she should have had all along. We will do our best to make up for lost time,” said Ditto.