Poppy is a seven-month-old puppy. Poppy sustained an injury that crushed her spine and left her back legs useless. It isn’t known how she received this wound.
Poppy was either kicked by a cruel human or was tread upon by a wild animal in Botswana’s vast northern Okavango region.
It’s unknown how long poor Poppy was alone, struggling to find help. It could’ve been for days or months.
Susanne Vogel works at an elephant research camp. One day, Poppy dragged herself into their camp. Vogel talked about the first time she and her coworkers first saw Poppy: “She came crawling – literally crawling because her back legs were completely immobilized – into our research camp. She was unable to walk, but full of love and seeking help.”
Vogel and her colleagues couldn’t ignore Poppy’s plight. They did what they could to care for the spirited injured pup who’d already evaded further injury and death at the hands of wild animals.
It would be a few days until they could take Poppy to a veterinarian. The journey alone, would take hours over dangerous roads and would involve a ferry crossing.
Poppy’s endurance and will to live shocked vogel and her team. Vogel explained the odds of Poppy’s odds at continued survival: “The camp is in a remote region, filled with elephants, but also lions, hyenas, and other predators.
Poppy had somehow made it to us, emaciated and soaking wet from the rain.”
After surviving the journey to a vet hospital, it was determined Poppy would need surgery to fix her spine. Knowing this would be an expensive undertaking, Amanda Stronza set up a Go Fund Me page.
“He said the chances were ‘slim’ she could make it through the surgery or recovery afterward,” Amanda Stronza said of the vetrinarian.
“But she had so much life in her, and I knew we needed to honor her will to live and the hard fight she had already fought to find us and stay alive. I couldn’t agree to euthanize her.”
Despite the vet’s predictions, Poppy continued to grow stronger each day. She had access to food, water, and anti-inflammatory medication.
Her comeback delighted her rescuers; Poppy’s determination even astonished the vet, who decided the pup needed more strength before performing the risky surgery. The doctor would postpone the operation until Poppy was as strong as possible.
Poppy forged on, gaining strength after strength. She impressed her team of carers by putting the slightest bit of weight on her back legs that were once useless. Stronza and her colleagues were in awe of the pup’s will.
They knew after first seeing Poppy that she was a survivor: “Her eyes pulled us in immediately,” Stronza said.
“They are huge, imploring, and sparkling with life. She bursts with the sweetest spirit, and we could see that clearly, despite the desperate condition she was in.”
Poppy is still with her elephant researcher friends in Botswana. The researchers will assess Poppy’s condition in a month’s time and go from there. They have the highest of hopes for the brave pup:
“She already has so many people all over the world who love her from a distance and are checking on her progress daily and are eager to see a happy outcome, namely adoption into a loving family,” Stronza said.
“She will regain her ability to walk, or she will gain wheels to help her around. I think she has a bright future!”