The story of Mimi
DogTraining4Humans was established in 2015, in honour of a brave little dog named Mimi.
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, the vet must have administered an adrenalin shot right into her heart to revive her.
Not only she was only half the weight she was supposed to be, she was also born with a heart murmur. The vet gave her very little chance of surviving more than a month.
Nevertheless, she was a charming little pooch, full of beans, and a zest for life. When the founder of our school adopted her (as she was not fit for breeding), little did he know how this petite puppy would change his life for ever.
Mimi was only five months old when she was brutally attacked by a dog that probably mistook her for a hare and grabbed her by the neck. Her windpipe was punctured, and she suffered extensive soft-tissue damage. She also developed the deadly Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus auerus infection, a type of flesh-eating bacterium that caused widespread necrosis – the death of cells – in her throat.
(The photos are too gruesome to display.)
The head veterinarian of the university hospital where Mimi was treated was worried that she would infect the ward, in which case the whole clinic must have had to go into a full lock-down. Her cage was placed in an empty room at the end of the building.
The doctors unequivocally advised Mimi's owner to end her misery, as the chance of survival was estimated at 10% or less.
Although what surely was in excruciating pain, unable to eat and drink or breathe unaided, and tubes hanging out of her body, Mimi made it clear she wanted to live. When someone came to see her, she never stopped wagging her tail.
Instinctively, Ben refused to give up on Mimi. Twice a day he visited her and employed every medicine and treatment he could find, even methods considered holistic, even “spiritual”.
Mimi had two life-saving three-hour long operations during which the lead surgeon did all he could to repair the damage to her windpipe.
A permanent tracheostomy had to be carried out 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 there for a while, but then the miracle happened: the MRSA infection "disappeared", and her wounds began healing with such speed that all were dumbfounded. Doctors, professors, even veterinary students came to visit Mimi, as they had never heard of a dog before that survived such severe trachea injury.
After spending twenty-four days in intensive care, Mimi walked out of the hospital 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 at best was only a couple of months.
That was six years ago.
Mimi is still with us, as happy as Larry, 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 endurance, even when the chances are minuscule to none.
Mimi lives as if she knew that every day is a gift, and that we must cherish and embrace each 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 abuse as puppies are likely to end up as “mental wrecks”. They can become absolutely terrified of dogs or people, or both.
Our Mimi is living proof that it is possible to find harmony again. She begins and ends each day in high spirits, and 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 story we attempt to educate 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.
Let Mimi's story be an inspiration for us all.