In our line of work as dog rescuers, we’ve found that the frailest bodies often contain the largest hearts. And no one demonstrates this better than Qian Qian.
It was a day of heavy rain when we received a call from a fish farm owner, who told us that against her will, she had to give her dogs up. So we got into the car and drove down to meet her in the thunderstorm, expecting nothing other than the usual logistics of transporting a group of dogs to our shelter.
We were drenched when we arrived, so most of her 7 dogs were wary and backed away when we approached. All except one – A petite girl with matted grey fur. She greeted us warmly and melted our hearts with her smile, all the while doing her best to jump on us to lick our faces and say hello – something that would have been far easier for her to do if she hadn’t been missing both her front legs.
Qian Qian’s deformity was the result of accidental inbreeding on an offshore fish farm. Her original owners kept her, and named her Qian Qian, which meant “Money Money” in Chinese, believing an old Chinese superstition that a 2-legged dog would bring them good fortune. Unfortunately, they were far from being ready to take care of a dog with disabilities. They kept her locked up in a little space, where she was left alone most of the time. But Qian Qian never gave up, even from the start. To get around, this brave little girl had to hop, jump, or drag herself on her belly, and over time, wounds began to appear from the constant friction and abrasion. She was often left to wriggle around in her own excrement, and soon, her wounds got infected. Far from bringing fortune, she became a burden, and her owners couldn’t wait to get rid of her. They did not treat her infections, and barely fed her, hoping that she would fade away by herself.
Thankfully, Qian Qian’s time was not up. A kind fish farmer took her over and slowly nursed her back to health. She took great pains to keep her clean and look after her, teaching her how to toilet without soiling herself. Qian Qian grew stronger, and learned how to trust again. Sadly, 6 years down the road, the kind lady finally had to give Qian Qian up because she has fallen ill herself and can no longer afford to look after Qian Qian and her other dogs.
If eyes are truly the windows to one’s soul, this must be even more so for our four-legged friends, who cannot easily tell us through words how they feel. As we looked into Qian Qian’s eyes that day, we saw a gentle and unwavering spirit, one that has never given up despite the staggering challenges of her disability. Many in her position – many humans, even – may have faced life with bitterness or despair, but her hope, strength and courage amidst her suffering is unspeakably inspirational.
It wasn’t just Qian Qian’s incredible will to live that struck us – more than that, we couldn’t believe her determination to show a tender joy and cheer to others in a world that hasn’t been kind enough to give her much of either. We were all of us moved beyond words by this
amazing little girl, and no one’s eyes were dry as we brought her back with us in the car, our tears almost a match for the rain lashing madly across the windshield.
Today, Qian Qian has become a resident of the Healing Paws programme, an Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) initiative by SOSD.
We are a Singapore-based humane society with special interest in animal welfare. Now, Qian Qian no longer needs to hop, jump, or drag herself to get around – snugly fitted in her custom-made wheelies, she zips down hallways, accepting treats and pats from patients, bringing them laughter and joy and in turn, sharing the gift of kindness and charity that has been given to her.
Heroes are not born but created through the adversities that they conquer and the lessons they learn in their lives. Our gutsy heroine Qian Qian is a living example of this, and everyday, she shares her life experiences with hundreds of people. As a kindred spirit, she understands the daily struggles that beneficiaries of the Healing Paws programme go through, and does her best to help them so that they too can see the silver lining behind the clouds.
Please support Qian Qian and her many friends in the Healing Paws programme. Help us help them so we can build a more loving and kinder society together.
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