A dog shot 11 times and left for dead has taken his first steps to recovery after a four-hour emergency operation in Abu Dhabi.
Volunteer vets at the Animalia clinic took Buddy into care in mid-December after a woman found the injured animal unable to walk in the Ras Al Khaimah desert.
Dr Susan Aylott, director of Animalia, a veterinary clinic that aims to educate about animal welfare issues and treat sick animals in Al Bateen, said the dog was lucky to be alive.
“If he had not have been found, he would have died as he needed surgery urgently,” she said.
“An examination of the wounds suggested he had been shot at close range.
“He was paralysed from the waist down and was dragging himself along the ground when he was found.
“Now he has had the bullets removed in surgery, he is able to stand and that is a good sign but it is a long, uncertain road to recovery.
“As there is no CCTV footage or other evidence as to what happened, the police are unable to do anything.”
Buddy was taken into the Ras Al Khaimah Animal Welfare Centre, before being driven to Abu Dhabi for surgery.
Animalia comprises a veterinary clinic, an education and resource learning centre.
The woman who found Buddy paid some of the fees for preliminary scans and Animalia covered the cost of his surgery, estimated at more than Dh20,000 ($5,445).
Dr Amer Grizic, a Bosnian vet at Animalia who has been in the UAE since 2015, said it would take at least six weeks of hydrotherapy and follow-up care before Buddy was likely to regain his mobility.
“This surgery was one of the hardest I have done,” he said.
“We see these kind of injuries more commonly in Europe where there is more hunting and dogs can sometimes get shot accidentally.
“I am not trained for this kind of specialist surgery as one of the bullets was close to his spinal cord.
“It should have been done by a neurosurgeon but we did not have access to one here. His injuries suggest he was shot from just a metre away, and he lost a lot of blood.
“If he had not been found, he would have died in the desert. Buddy was left for dead.”
The dog is now likely to be rehomed once he has recovered.
Federal Law No 18 for 2016 is in place to tackle cases of animal cruelty.
Anyone found to have breached this law faces a one-year jail sentence and/or a maximum fine of Dh200,000.
Dr Aylott said an increasing number of animal abandonments, cruelty and neglect showed people needed to be reminded of the UAE's strict animal welfare laws.
“There are firm laws in this country, so if anyone sees any signs of neglect or abuse they should be reported,” she said.
“Any culture or society should not tolerate animal abuse of any kind, whether that is towards pets or stray animals.
“Amazingly, Buddy still trusts humans after what he has been through and has a lovely nature. He will make a wonderful pet.”