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Kitchee

     A world away, in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, a German Shepherd puppy, just six months old, stood alone in the narrow street. The owners of the house where she was born and lived her whole life, had just put her outside and left her to fend for herself.

The female puppy, with long black and gold fur and one ear that flopped over, was small for her age. She looked around her and in the depths of her heart, she realized she was now utterly alone. She was confused and didn't know what to do or where to go. Dusk wasf alling... a group of boys spotted her and started towards her laughing and yelling. The puppy didn't understand their words but had a dreaded foreboding at the tone of the voices and the laughter: every instinct told her to flee and she tried to hurry in the opposite direction down the street, but she couldn't move quickly enough to get away- because from the knees down- her hind legs were deformed- making it difficlut and painful for her to walk , let alone run.

The gang of boys picked up stones and still laughing, surrounded her.

The puppy looked up pleadingly at the faces of those who had her cornered -when a rock hit her on the side by her ribs. Then another slammed against the side of her head.  Dazed, she turned to try to get away, and was struck again, this time in the shoulder, Desperately, in spite of the pain, the puppy propelled herself forward with her twisted hind legs, trying to dodge the stones which now pummeled her small body from every direction. There seemed nowhere else to turn. No way out.

 Kitchee was being stoned to death!

  Born in Jeddah Saudi Arabia, Kitchee came into the world with deformed  hind legs. When it became clear that she would not outgrow her deformity, her owners gave up on her and threw her out in the street. There the gang found her and were in the process of stoning this small dog to death when a Good Samaritan,an American contractor, passing by happened upon the gruesome scene and came to Kitchee's rescue.

Chasing off the boys, the kind man picked up Kitchee, who was nearly dead from the beating and rushed her to a veterinarian.

Thankfully,the vet was able to save her life, and gave her a name- Kitchee- and a safe place to stay, in the back room of his clinic as she recovered from her injuries. The room was dark and windowless, the floor was cement, Kitchee was alone most of the day and the care was rudimentary, but she was safe.

An animal rescue group in the neighboring nation of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, learned of the small puppy living alone in the storage room of the vet';s office and went to meet her. Touched by her story of abandonment and the cruel abuse she had survived, they resolved to do what they could to help her. They took the puppy to a boarding kennel in Dubai, where she would receive better care and more attention, while they searched for a permanent home for Kitchee- reaching out via the internet and social networking sites to rescue groups and shelters around the world.

Many people were interested in helping Kitchee, but hesitated to adopt her for their own, worried about the time her care would take and the special medical needs and expenses she'd  have in the future. After months of trying, the rescue group  and those networking for her were still unable to find a home for her. But thru  their contacts the rescue learned about a special place they hoped would help Kitchee- that place was here- at Home for Life.

A few weeks later, the rescue sent a representative to tour Home for Life to see if the sanctuary was the right place for Kitchee. After visiting, the representative and rescue offered to pay Kitchee's airfare from Dubai if we'd accept herand care for her at the sanctuary.

The obvious question is why HFL would take a dog who lived thousands of miles away, in another country.
When we heard Kitchee's dramatic story and took one look at her photo, we couldn't disregard her just because of where she was born. It was obvous she had few options, and desperately needed our help.

Part of our mission is showing what's possible- that animals like Kitchee can live a great life if given the opportunity. Although Kitchee is but one animal that we have helped, she is emblematic of the many animals who come to Home for Life. These animals have nowhere else to turn. Everywhere,there are many animals like Kitchee who deserve a chance and want to live, but for whome adoption into a typical home is not an option.

Kitchee arrived in Minneapolis from Dubai in early fall. It was clear after just a short time that she was in pain even though she was receiving medication. She needed reconstructive surgery to give her the ability to walk and even run without suffering constant pain from her deformity.

The determined puppy with the relentless will to live tried her best- even with the pain from her deformed legs- to keep up with her new dog companions in the Home for Life meadows where they exercised. We resolved to do all we could to restore her quality of life and ability to move as much as possible like a normal dog.

Within a few months, after thorough evaluation, thanks to the contributions generously made to our Emergency Medical Care Fund by compassionate supporters, Kitchee underwent  reconstructive surgery to reposition her feet and legs. The surgery, done at the Univeristy of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center, was a success. After a lengthy rehabilitation, Kitchee was at last free of pain and able to move. Her legs are shorter than normal so she does not  move like a normal dog, but she can enjoy exercise times with her friends in the meadows free of pain and easily move around her townhouse and even get on her hammock without difficulty or pain. Our goal was to give Kitchee the ability to live like a normal dog, free of pain and with the capacity to enjoy an active and full life in our protected setting.

Today, Kitchee is the leader of her dog group which includes her girlfriends Mia the Chow Chow, Beauty a Husky/Border Collie mix, Snowbelle a small shepherd mix about the same size as Kitchee and the only boy, the gallant pitbull mix Sparky.  In the protected  environment of the sanctuary,she lives a quiet  and peaceful life, far removed from the terror and uncertainty of her first few months. Instead of her life ending in tragic way, her life  now has  meaning and purpose, as her story proves that it's possible to make the best of a terrible start in life and that goodness triumphs over selfishness, meanness, cruelty and fear.  Visitors to the sanctuary always want to meet the dog from Saudi Arabia because her story is so inspiring and perhaps more than any of our animals, is most emblematic of the transformation Home for Life can make in the lives of the special animals we help.        

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