The German shepherd was injured during a rescue mission in Tajikistan but was determined to go back to work
Russian rescue dog Monika has a new leash on life after prosthetics operation
Monika, the Russian rescue dog who lost a leg in a rescue mission to Tajikistan, is set to have a second chance at life after being fitted with prosthetics.
The 16-year-old German shepherd was injured during a rescue mission in Tajikistan and needed to be pulled from the area after gangrene set in. She made a full recovery, but was forced to live on the streets of Russia with her litter of eight puppies and another dog to continue working.
But in February she was presented with a silver spurs bowl by a vet from the animal therapy centre in Tver. It contained a plate that will enable her to stand on her prosthetic leg.
Asher Garbuzov, a veterinarian from the veterinary service in Tver, where Monika lives, said the spurs had been specially created for use in dogs. “It has a solid base that is about half the size of the leg,” he said. “It is designed to keep the leg up during training and to prevent it from becoming injured.”
The organisation that provided funding for the donation of the spare part, Shyak, runs an animal therapy and rehabilitation centre that has had success in helping children with physical and mental disabilities. The dogs there normally live on the streets and have disabilities as a result of their exposure to toxins during their early life.
“Our biggest success, and that is our reason for existence, is the children. We rehabilitate 10,000 children a year, but almost all of them need assistance with animal therapy,” Garbuzov said.
Monika was given a spurs bowl after she learned to walk on her prosthetic leg
Monika started by being taught to take her prosthetic leg off and walk with it in front of the group of children. “She really did it very well. The children really got into the act,” Garbuzov said. The group developed a routine of trying out different different approaches, including putting the leg on upside down.
Each month Monika receives two or three visitors to the centre and gets specialised obedience training and therapy for her injured leg, then, like any other dog in the class, is thoroughly desexed.
“She is a very happy dog, a really good dog. She will surely take better care of it now,” Garbuzov said.
This week, he said, a month after the injections, she is already able to take her leg off and stand on it with the help of a plaster cast.
“It was really difficult to find someone who would put up with her,” he said. “She keeps walking on the leg, which is a sign that she’s getting better.”
•This article was amended on 15 November 2018 to replace the original pictures of Monika with her puppies.