An RSPCA veterinarian has recalled the moment she first laid eyes on a badly neglected dog – suffering with a football-sized tumour growing on her front leg.
“It was a shock, definitely the worst tumour I had ever seen,” Dr Gayle Kothari said.
After major surgery to remove the 1kg tumour, Bindi needed intensive, round-the-clock care – prompting Dr Kothari to turn her bedroom into an intensive care ward.
“Bindi is such a good-natured dog – the whole team loved her from the start,” Dr Kothari said.
“After everything that she had endured, we all just wanted her to pull through.”
RSPCA South Australia CEO Paul Stevenson described Bindi as an obvious choice to be the face of the charity’s End of Financial Year Appeal, officially launched today.
“Incredible rescue-to-recovery stories like Bindi’s provide reassurance that, amid all the current uncertainty, our organisation remains unflinching in its duty to care for animals in need and seek justice for them in court,” Mr Stevenson said.
“But, as a charity that’s totally dependent on community donations for our animal care work, we can’t save neglected animals like Bindi without public support.
“That’s why we’re asking people to make a tax-deductible donation this End of Financial Year.”
RSPCA South Australia inspectors seized Bindi on March 28, 2018 in response to a cruelty report. The 6-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross dog had a malignant tumour on her leg that, given its enormous size, had likely been present for one to two years, possibly longer.
(After pleading guilty to ill-treatment of his dog, a 44-year-old man from Largs Bay received a three-month prison sentence in August 2019, suspended upon entering into a two-year good behaviour bond. He was also ordered to pay $6719 in veterinary and legal costs, and was banned from owning any animals indefinitely.)
Bindi underwent multiple complex surgeries over several weeks to remove the tumour, and it took two months of at-times intensive veterinary care before she recovered.
RSPCA South Australia’s Chief Veterinarian Dr Brad Ward described Bindi’s care and recovery as “a truly wonderful example of what we can achieve together as an organisation”.
“We’re incredibly proud of the great result we achieved for this dog, in what had been a very long saga,” Dr Ward said.
“Following the initial surgery when Bindi needed intensive care, Gayle took her home and stayed awake most of the night, tweaking her fluid therapy and pain relief to keep her alive – a wonderful example of dedication to her patient.”
With the surgery behind her, Bindi then underwent a long course of therapy to overcome behaviour issues resulting from her long-term neglect. She now has a lifelong home with one of RSPCA South Australia’s dog-care coordinators, Justin Biddle.
Mr Stevenson hoped Bindi’s incredible story would inspire South Australians.
“These testing times are encouraging many of us to reflect on what we value most, and kindness is definitely on that list of essential qualities to get us all through this – not just towards each other, but towards animals too,” he said.
“As we battle to contain the spread of coronavirus, it’s important to remember that essential work saving vulnerable animals from cruelty and neglect must continue.
“With our community’s support, we can continue to give neglected animals like Bindi the care and justice they deserve.”
Bindi at home with new owner Justin.