Our beloved five-year-old Shih Tzu “Bunni” was viciously attacked by a dastardly Dalmatian at Peninsula One courtyard during the Chinese New Year. Normally we watch her like we’re hawks on patrol, however we were remiss for an instant because of a cellphone call, and in a second, there she was being shaken violently in the jaws of this much bigger animal. The owner stood there with a dumb look on his face instead of reaching down and stopping his animal? (We buried the owner’s lifeless body in the bushes behind the soccer field). Just joking, but as you can imagine, we were furious and upset. Since there were no puncture wounds or blood, we didn’t realise the seriousness of her injuries until the next day when she could not walk correctly; holding her back arched high in the air. We knew then we had problems but could not imagine the ordeal that was to come.
We took her to a very caring and well intentioned Vet clinic here in Shekou. They took her in, took x-rays, administered blood tests, etc. All seemed to be going well and after a week or so, she appeared fine. But things started coming apart when Bunni threw up a large pool of blood at midnight and I realised we had a life-threatening situation. Off again to the vet in the middle of the night. We survived what I thought might be her last days, but Bunni once again rallied back to apparent good health. Unfortunately, this is not the end of story.
After several weeks Bunni relapsed and I realised what we needed was state-of-the-art medicine; science actually. Bunni was dying. In desperation, we went online and found a new veterinarian clinic here in Shekou: Doctors Beck & Stone. I phoned and was told “Dr. Beck is out of the office but will phone you.” Not long afterwards, Dr. Beck called me back and listened as we retold our crisis. Then, in his thick British accent, he instructed us to bring Bunni in for an immediate exam. Thus began a few weeks of constant improvement. It appeared we were over the hump. But we were not. Not yet.
A few mornings later, Bunni wasn’t able to move. We packed her up and took her to Dr. Beck and he said we needed to have an MRI done “straightaway.” Amazingly, he had that done within a day and we had the results: Bunni had a spinal injury and needed surgery to save her. We were given several choices: Dr. Beck is a Senior consultant surgeon (and co-founder of Dr Beck & Stone). While he has done the surgery before, he told me I had two better choices: one is to have Bunni operated on by a Hong Kong surgeon, a specialist in that field, and he could arrange to have that done here in Shenzhen, or have Dr. Michael Hamilton, a European Boarded orthopedic and soft tissue specialist, do it. Dr. Hamilton would be arriving in Bejing to do a hip replacement surgery later in the week from London and he might be able to swing through Shenzhen and work on Bunni. We opted for this option. We really had no choice; poor Bunni could not walk, her back legs were paralysed. We pretty much had given up hope.
In Dr. Beck’s office, Dr. Hamilton briefed us for a full hour before the surgery. He methodically laid out his plan on a blank sheet of paper: “Here is Bunni’s nose, here is her tail, these are her back legs, these are her front, aha, here is the problem.” He explained that one in 150 do not make it off the operating table, that the spinal cord is actually a bit of the brain encased in a protective armour and that our chances were 80% for a full recovery. (Which I did not believe. I thought she would never walk again. How could I?) I had no choice but to give her this chance. We were told not to expect anything for two weeks after the surgery, she might not move a bit during that time.
Bunni had her surgery on a Friday, the clinic is located at Shop 60, Emperor Bay Garden, Zhaoshang Rd East, HouHai, Nanshang district Shenzhen, a state-of-the-art building, shiny white with mirror finishes reflecting how clean everything is. The staff fell madly in love with Bunni and she returned their love, never once vibrating with nervousness like she does at other vet offices. Back in the catacombs, near the surgery room with its stainless steel table and big operating light, there was Bunni’s cozy room, a secure box with its glass-paned door. We put her little safe-house in there to make her better feel at home, as well as a red warmup jacket with our scent. We would often show up to find the staff back there spending time with her because “that is what she liked.” We were told how one staff member stayed all night inside the office and placed their bed in her room, sleeping right beside her to make her feel safe and happy. It touched us very much and we will always be grateful for that.
The first day after surgery we were just glad that she made it through alive. We removed her IV tube and took her outside to the grass. She laid there and did not move. My hope was dashed, but Dr. Beck told me to “be patient” and reminded us that often it is two weeks before recovery. The second day, the same thing happened. The third day, the same. On the fourth day she tried to move on her hind leg, the right one was strong enough to drag her around a foot or two in the grass, the left one hung lifeless and dragged behind her. It broke our hearts but she was trying.
The fifth day we arrived for our morning visit and Bunni was standing up!!!! She was only able to wobble around but it was such a fantastic improvement our hearts leapt with joy, hope springing forth. From then on it was steady improvement and now almost three weeks after surgery, Bunni is home with us and near normal, getting stronger every day.
We are so grateful to Doctors Beck & Stone and their entire staff. It is absolutely clear to us her life was saved by their medicine (science). We just had her bathed and clipped on Saturday at their clinic and the only way to tell of her ordeal is the four-inch scar healing on the top of her spine; everything else is normal. She was delighted to see all of them and her tail wagged incessantly when we got near their building. We cannot express the gratitude we feel and the joy we have in sharing each and every day with Bunni. We consider the staff at Doctors Beck & Stone to be family and we cannot recommend them enough. I am very glad they are here for us. We could not be more happy!