El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

My Crazy 72 Hours: Rescuing Sonam (Part 1)

June 24, 2013 1

It was 2:30am when we first met Sonam at Genting Sempah

It was 2:30am when we first met Sonam at Genting Sempah. Here, Rinpoche recites mantras while feeding Sonam

Wow, it has been an absolutely CRAZY 72 hours!

All of this began on Friday night, when Rinpoche and a small group of us went up to Genting (read about part of the trip here). On our way down, we came across a pack of stray dogs so we stopped to feed them. On getting out of our cars, we noticed one of the dogs only had three legs and on getting closer, we noticed he also had a massive gaping, bloody hole in his back.

It took us all of 5 minutes of discussing logistics and the potential problems before Rinpoche decided we had to rescue him. So part of the team went back to Kechara Forest Retreat to pick up tranquiliser pills, whilst we arranged for another Kecharian (Pastor Susan, Head of Kechara Animal Sanctuary) to drive up from KL with a doggie carrier and more pills. Meanwhile, Bryan and I stayed back at Genting Sempah to keep an eye on the dog whilst everyone went to get the supplies we needed to rescue him.

Now the thing about stray dogs is that they are extremely strong and having lived in tough conditions, they’ve (sadly) grown accustomed to pain. So this doggie in particular, despite how bad his injuries looked, gave Bryan and I quite a good workout as we ran all over Genting Sempah to make sure we didn’t lose him whilst the team was away.

How could we not rescue him?

How could we not rescue him?

About an hour later, everything had arrived and Operation Rescue Doggie began. It was 3am when the little doggie swallowed the first four of his tranquiliser pills and so the team waited.

And waited.

And waited.

An hour later, the doggie started to show some signs of drowsiness so we began to move in on him, in our first attempt at capturing him. No such luck (ha! Did you actually think it was going to be that easy?) because something spooked the doggie, so he ran off.

Sigh.

It was now 4am and there was a badly injured doggie running on the highways near Genting Sempah. It wasn’t as though we could abandon him. So we continued to wait and try, and wait and try, and wait and try.

Soon, it was 6am and the sun was beginning to rise over Genting Sempah. At this point, some of us had been running around Genting Sempah for close to three hours and well, we’re not the fittest bunch. And by this time, the doggie had acquired a name – Rinpoche named him ‘Sonam’, which is Tibetan for ‘merits’.

We decided enough was enough; if we waited any longer, the first four tranquilisers (which clearly weren’t working too well!) were going to wear off, and we’d never catch Sonam if we continued to break his trust. And so we commenced our sixth attempt.

We got Sonam to eat another two tranquiliser pills and then waited.

And waited.

And waited.

7am saw Pastor Susan, Moh Mei, Elisa and myself crouched near Sonam at the Genting Sempah roundabout. With noose in hand, Pastor Susan was softly stroking Sonam who had laid down on the grass to rest. Moh Mei stood by, reciting mantras; Elisa and I crouched behind some bushes, out of Sonam’s view, with the doggie carrier in hand. The traffic was steadily growing heavier, with more trucks and lorries wooshing past us. It was now or never…

Slowly, Pastor Susan brought the noose over Sonam’s head and then plop! Over it went, and Sonam began to struggle.

Man, the dog struggled.

Remember, by this point, Sonam had already ingested six tranquiliser pills AND had been running around Genting Sempah for five hours…and he could STILL struggle (told you stray dogs are strong!). So we let him struggle until he was a little more exhausted then started to move in on him. Cornered into some bushes, there was nowhere Sonam could run except straight into the dog carrier we’d prepared.

The picture everyone waited for five hours to see!

The picture everyone waited for five hours to see!

At 7:10am, I could finally send out the triumphant news that Sonam had been captured successfully and was now on his way down to the vet. A few hours later, everyone received the message we had all been waiting for: Sonam was fine and his stump was an old injury which had healed well. The wound on his back was treatable and the vet had begun applying medication.

I got back to Kechara Forest Retreat at 9am and immediately settled in to bed…only to wake up just two hours later for a very exciting day ahead of me… (See here for Part 2!)

Six tranquiliser pills later, and despite having captured him, he was still wagging his tail and happy to see us!

Six tranquiliser pills later, and despite having captured him, he was still wagging his tail and happy to see us!

Animal Welfare

One Comment → “My Crazy 72 Hours: Rescuing Sonam (Part 1)”

  1. There's No Way But Up! 6 years ago   Reply

    Poor bubu! He’s cute and I hope he gets well and goes to a nice happy home.

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