Dog Training For Humans was established in 2014 in honour of a brave little dog.
A Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen, she was the smallest and weakest puppy in the litter. As she was crushed by her siblings, deprived of oxygen, she had no sign of life when she was born. The vet had to administer an adrenalin shot to revive her.
Not only she was only half the weight she was supposed to be, she was born with a heart murmur. She was unfit for breeding or for exhibitions.
Nevertheless, she was a charming little pooch, full of beans, with a zest for life. When the founder of our school adopted her, little did he know how this petite puppy would change his life for ever.
Mimi was only five months old when she was attacked by a dog that grabbed her by the neck. (Most likely, being a white fluffy little thing jumping in the grass, she was mistaken for a hare.) She suffered extensive soft-tissue damage on her throat. She was infected with the deadly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus auerus, a flesh-eating bacterium that caused widespread necrosis – the death of cells.
(The photos are too gruesome to display.)
The chief vet at the university hospital where Mimi was rushed to openly expressed his worry that she would infect the ward, in which case the whole clinic must have had to go into a full lock-down. She was placed in an empty room at the very end of the clinic.
The doctors unequivocally advised Mimi's owner to end her misery, as the chance of her survival was estimated at 10% at best.
Although she must have been in excruciating pain, unable to eat and drink or breathe unaided, and tubes hanging out of her body, Mimi made it clear she was not ready to give it up without a fight. When someone came to see her, she never stopped wagging her tail.
Her owner refused to give up on her. Every morning and evening he visited Mimi and employed every medicine and treatment he could find, including methods considered holistic, even “spiritual”.
She had two operations by an eye-specialist - the only surgeon who was willing to attempt to repair the damage on her windpipe. A permanent tracheostomy had to be installed to help her breathe. (An opening was created at the front of the neck so a tube could be inserted into the windpipe.)
It was a touch and go, but then the MIRACLE happened: almost overnight, the MRSA infection disappeared without a trace, and her wounds began to heal. Doctors, professors, even veterinary students came to visit Mimi in her ward, as they had never heard of a dog before that survived such severe trachea injury.
After spending twenty-three days in intensive care, Mimi walked out of the hospital on her own little paws and began the long road to recovery.
Dogs living with an open trachea are prone to lung infection and pneumonia; the prediction for her life-span was three months, at best.
That was six years ago.
Mimi is still with us, happy as Larry, high spirited and living life to the full.
In her spirit, she truly embodies our hope that we can and will beat the odds through sheer determination, courage and commitment, even when the chances are minuscule to none.
Mimi lives on as if she knew that every day is a gift, and that we must cherish and embrace each and every moment.
Furthermore, she is also our school's little “reference dog” who demonstrates that a dog can be helped to rebuild trust in the world despite having lived through such a traumatic experience at an early age.
Dogs that survive an attack or suffer abuse as puppies can end up as “mental wrecks”, scarred for life. They can become absolutely terrified of dogs or people, or both.
Our little Mimi is the living proof that it is possible to find harmony again. She equally loves every single member of our world – dogs big or small, cats, chickens, squirrels, all other animals, and especially children.
If you ever have a chance to meet her – be prepared: she will give you a zealous kiss, no holds barred!
Through Mimi's incredible story we attempt to educate and inspire dog owners on the importance of socialising our dogs in order to avoid attacks and incidents.
And when those accidents do happen, we must never give up the effort to help our best friends to overcome their painful memories, relearn to live without fear, and realize that the world is not such a terrible place after all.
She is a true inspiration for us all!