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Harmony's Miracle Recovery


When you think of puppies, you usually picture them frolicking in green grass under the sun but sadly, not every puppy has the ideal start to life it deserves. 

Thousands of puppies are born into substandard conditions every year, and some of them even find their way to shelters like Animal Welfare League NSW.

It seems shocking to think that an animal who is merely a few weeks old could be unwanted by the people who allowed it to be born into the world, but we see it more commonly than you’d think.

One such unwanted puppy that recently came through our doors is Harmony, a Dobermann cross who came to stay at our shelter at the tender age of two days old – eyes still tightly shut, just learning to move.

It may have been fortunate that Harmony didn’t have her vision yet, as she would have been terrified by what she saw in her first few days of life.

One of seven puppies in her litter, Harmony was born on the second story of a squalid barn in Sydney’s rural outskirts.

Her mother, Red, had been poorly bred by her owner, with no thought to the conditions of the animals, their genetic history, or their health.

Our Inspector who attended the scene after a tip off from a concerned member of the public said that the filth was almost indescribable – there was mess everywhere, and the barn was covered in dirt and oil.

Our Inspectorate and its tip off line can only operate through the generous support of the public. Please, donate today to help us continue investigating neglect complaints about puppies like Harmony.

 Red lived with two other dogs (one male and female), and had to fight for scraps of food to prevent herself from starving; a tragic and terrifying situation that no expectant mother should ever be in.

When it was finally time for her to give birth, Red delivered her seven puppies under a dirty vehicle, and had to live with the constant stress of protecting her little bundles from the other two dogs.

The puppies’ presence at the property was quite a surprise for our Inspector, who heard their whimpers before she saw them and had to crawl around with a torch to drag the tiny dogs out one by one.

They were then brought back to Animal Welfare League NSW Kemps Creek shelter, where they were health checked.

Although the puppies mostly seemed to be doing okay, the mother dog was exhausted and sickly thin, probably due to the combination of feeding her babies and a lack of proper care.

While all the puppies were staff favourites, one stood out in particular – Harmony, who was notably smaller than her siblings and struggled to latch onto her mum.

As if that wasn’t hard enough for the embattled puppy, as the days went by, vet staff noticed that Harmony had developed an abscess on her hind leg and was failing to gain weight at the pace they would have liked her to.

The vet team at the clinic began supplement feeding her, drained the abscess and placed her on a course of antibiotics but Harmony was still struggling, as her siblings constantly pushed her off the teat.

Without the generous support of the public, our not-for-profit vet clinic simply couldn’t afford to treat the many shelter and welfare animals that we do every year. Please, if you care about homeless pets, donate to us to give them quality medical care.

Even worse, young mother Red was quickly losing interest with all her puppies, and Harmony bore the brunt of it due to her small size.

Although we would have liked to keep mum and pups together, little Harmony desperately needed expert foster care or her life would hang in the balance.

Fortunately, we had the perfect foster care couple to nurse Harmony back to health during this critical phase – Josh and Louise, both animal industry professionals, took Harmony into their home and worked with our vet team to rehabilitate her.

Under Josh and Louise’s watchful care, Harmony gained weight and her leg was in a reasonable enough state for her to be x-rayed. The results were upsetting – despite the expert care she received, the initial infection in her leg had spread to her bone, and we were concerned about her future.

Despite her precarious health, Harmony was placed on an even more aggressive antibiotic treatment and went back to foster care, while our vet team discussed her case with a specialist.

Saving Harmony’s life was dependent upon one thing – amputating her leg. As you can imagine, surgery is difficult and taxing on such a young animal, and so Harmony had to wait a few weeks to gain even more weight and strength.

Thankfully, Josh and Louise were able to help Harmony get to the physical condition she needed to be at, and the surgery went smoothly.

You might expect a newly amputated animal to be disoriented or depressed, but Harmony was quickly back into action.

Even the next day after the surgery, she was looking better and brighter than anyone had seen her in her life.

Harmony’s medical care alone cost us around $6000 – not including the cost of the care we provided her siblings and mother.

We simply can’t help puppies like Harmony without donations.