Rescued in China from the Dog-Meat Trade Butchers, After a lifetime of surviving so much pain and suffering, she needs one last miracle
By Dominick Mezzapesa
On a dank, cold, February day, a truck filled with hundreds of dogs crammed into rusted cages, far too small for the number of dogs each cage held, traveled unmolested toward its gruesome destination.
This truck was no different than any of the hundreds, perhaps thousands that travel throughout China and Southeast Asia.
These dogs would soon become just another handful in the millions of animals slaughtered by the hideous dog-meat trade. But in retrospect, this one truck was actually very different.
This truck was lucky enough to be intercepted by a group of caring animal activist. The determination of these few good souls declared in one voice "We will not let these animals go quietly into that good night."
Here starts the incredible and inspirational story of Nibble, a Tibetan Mastiff who just seconds before was nothing more than a piece of meat destined for a short life filled with unimaginable terror.
Unfortunately, for these few dogs lucky enough to escape the Dog-Meat butchers, their reprieve is, in most cases, short-lived. Rescuers with very limited funds must balance their devotion to rescuing these poor animals with the economics of life.
Reality cares little for feelings or wishes
The economics of the situation tells rescuers that they should abandon the larger breed dogs. While it seems heartless to some, the reality these rescuers face is as they grow older, these larger breeds are more expensive to treat, they eat more and even if they somehow survive. The reality is that they tend to be much harder to be adopted into a forever home.
Thankfully there was a caring guardian angel looking over Nibble this day. She along with her Tibetan Mastiff brethren that were enslaved on this truck were not left behind and were rescued.
For Nibble escaping the Murderers of the Dog-Meat trade hardly meant she was finally safe from the gruesome end that had awaited her. In fact for Nibble and her friends instead of being condemned to a short, excruciating life filled with pain. She may just have inherited a longer life, filled with disease and starvation, that in the end would be just as deadly as the Dog-meat Butchers blade.
But, once again someone was looking out for Nibble because she had found another Guardian angle in a Swedish animal nurse with a heart of gold.
Today, Camilla Larsson currently resides in Hong Kong, but, luckily for Nibble and her fellow Mastiffs, Camilla was living in Beijing at the moment Nibble was rescued.
Camilla heard the story of Nibble and the other Tibetan Mastiffs. Discovering that she was living near the shelter that the original 20 Mastiffs had been taken to. Camilla decided to visit the shelter and discovered eight of the originally twenty that had been rescued.
Camilla was so taken by the dog's story, she started a "SaveTheTibetanMastiffs" fundraiser. The aim was the rehabilitating and re-homing for Nibble and the other Mastiffs.
“I took me one year, loads of hard work and money, but I did it! I found homes for all the dogs!" Camilla said.
She added: "The thing to understand about Tibetan Mastiffs is that they are banned in most places in China so it’s very difficult to find new owners, and even if I did, the risk is very high that they will end up on another truck again so I set out to find homes overseas and between July and October 2015 the dogs set off to their new forever homes."
For most dogs finding forever, homes meant the story had finished with an incredible fairytale ending. These poor souls had somehow survived through an unimaginable horror and found a forever home filled with love.
While the other 7 mastiffs found homes filled with warmth, sadly for Nibble, her story was far from over. The expected fairy tale ending turned into a nightmare.
Nibble was taken in by a family in Sweden and for 6-months Nibble suffered a life filled with more pain and agony. Nibbles life was put at risk when her new owners wanted to euthanize Nibble after she attacked a neighbor. Despite the fact that she only defended herself after she was attacked by a man that used a live cattle prod on her.
No matter that her attack was self-defense, it looks very much like Nibble's luck had finally run out. But once again, Camilla stepped in.
Camilla reached out to Nicole Strauss who had taken in one of Nibbles fellow Tibetan Mastiffs Dog-Meat survivors, named Moomkin.
Nicole agreed to take Nibble in and to try and rehabilitate her. Nicole was a realist and she had low expectations for its success. After-all Nibbles had been through, after so much pain and torture, she may have been too far gone to ever rehabilitate.
Despite the odds, Nicole took Nibble in knowing she must be prepared to put her down if she proved too dangerous.
Knowing this was a long shot to succeed, Camilla never-the-less spent what little she had and escorted Nibble from Sweden to her new home in England.
Camilla didn't know what to expect when Nibble was introduced to her new family, but something told her it was important that she be there. As the pair traveled to Britain, Camilla knew that the odds of success would be akin to 'slim to none.'
"It's always darkest before the dawn."
When Nibble and Camilla arrived at Nicole's house the moment Nibble's laid eyes on Moomkin, Camilla and Nichole both witnessed a flicker of happiness in Nibble's sad eyes.
The two dogs had been rescued together but had been separated for ten months. The moment they saw each other the time separated seemed to vanish into thin air.
For the first time, in a very long time, Nibble seeing her friend, showed that she still possessed that spark of the determination that had thus far gotten her through so much pain and anguish.
Nicole speaking about Nibbles said “She's so much more than just a dog to me, she reminds me every day that it’s possible to heal and trust and love. I can't let her down.”
That is the gift that these Dog-Meat trade survivors bestow upon us, sometimes pathetic humans. They show us that no matter the horrors we bestow upon them, they don't hold it against us. They show us no matter the terror you can still love again. That lesson is something humans seem to forget.
For us, once we are exposed to the darkness, we almost relish living in it. We seem to wrap the hate and anger around us like a warm blanket on a cold winters night. These Dogs do no such thing, they repay the kindness they received with love, a happy wagging tail accompanied by a big sloppy, joyous kiss.
Over the last year and a half, Nibble has become almost unrecognizable from the dog Nicole first met. She regained her weight, and her coat was saved with lots of effort and hours of brushing. She is sweet, loving, and a ferocious guard dog. She loves peanut butter, Nicole's husband and of course Moomkin! They are best friends forever!
You would think that the story should end there because no being should suffer any more than Nibble had. Nibbles paid her dues and then some.
Life isn't always fair
Life it seemed had one more hardship in store for a dog that had experienced more pain and suffering than most humans, let alone a dog, should have been subjected too.
A short while ago Nibble had an accident and dislocated her right hip in a fall. X-rays showed that she also suffered from severe arthritis. Most of the problems stem from a life that began with starvation and abuse.
The arthritis was determined to be so bad that the veterinarian was unable to return the hip into the socket, with no hope of ever being able to do so. Nicole was left with only two options: a total hip replacement, or euthanasia.
Except for the hip, Nibble is otherwise very healthy and the prognosis for a full recovery with the surgery was very, very good. Nibble was not even four-years-old yet, so, if the surgery went well and there were no complications, there would be no reason for her not to live a long, pain-free life.
But a total hip replacement costs more money than Nicole could ever afford.
For all the times that so many wanted nothing more than to kill Nibble. For the very few times in her life, Nibble actually had people that would refused to let her go so easily.
Nicole and Camilla were determined to do right by her. They set out to raise the funds for the surgery. What they soon discovered was they were not alone in their fight to save Nibble. There were many other people, like them, that understood Nibble didn't deserve what we humans had done to her.
Enough caring people contributed what they could. Sometimes it was $1, while others $100. No matter what the amount they had given, each dollar was a blessing to Nicole and Camilla because it showed hope, not only for Nibble but for us all.
To the people who gave so generously, Nibble was a symbol of faith and redemption. Nibble proved that while we humans do fall, we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue down the path to become something more than just the sum of our parts.
While the surgery went flawless, Nibbles and Nicole are not out of the woods just yet. The cost of of the surgery was far more than the generous donations from the first fundraiser. More importantly the rehabbing from such a surgery is enormous. While Nicole was reluctant to ask for additional help, Camilla knew she needed to do something.
Reaching out she is asking all of us to help Nibble to cross that finish line. Like most heroes after such a long battle, it is not their will or heart that allows them to truly get through those last few steps.
It is us, our cheers and our love are what makes their heart fill with joy and the belief that they are crossing that finish line not for themselves but for all of us.
The amount you give is inconsequential, for what you are donating is hope. Hope for Nibble, hope for others, but, mostly hope for ourselves for when our night turns darkest.
The hope that in our darkest hour someone will be there to be a beacon of light that allows us to overcome something we never believed we could.