Remembering Donya

Donya was a quiet, calm little teacup Maltese I met in the winter of 2011. She was paralyzed and homeless, and she needed more care than I could give or I would have taken her home. I visited her a handful of times at the clinic where she lived, and I posted her picture on the Internet in the hope that someone would adopt her. I was sure someone would.

I was very grateful when a former Korea expat and ARK member arranged for Donya to go to Amsterdam for adoption. She sent money to the clinic, and Donya passed all the tests she needed to meet EU requirements. The rescuer’s husband bought a wheelchair and sent it to the clinic so Donya could learn to walk.

But the adoption fell through and the wheelchair broke. Bangsiri was getting sicker, so I couldn’t take time to visit the clinic. I only dropped by for a quick visit to take pictures and keep Donya’s adoption thread up to date.

Finally, a longtime rescuer named Sarah took Donya out of the clinic and brought her to a different vet. She made plans for Donya to fly to California and lined up a foster home through a rescue group. Sarah had taken care of many other animals with special needs, and the group had succeeded in placing two.

This time was different. Sarah learned of the group’s decision only after it was too late. An e-mail Sarah posted on ARK said: “… we did not want her to continue suffering. There was no quality of life for her and more importantly no possibility of feeling better. She would only continue to deteriorate.”

Which is absolute bullshit because Donya had lived at a vet clinic for at least a year, and the vets who knew her thought she was fit to be adopted. Sarah’s vet certified that Donya was fit for overseas travel. The “rescue” group promised to give her a better life knowing she had special needs—her paralysis and her incontinence were public information, not secrets. The group completely betrayed Donya, Sarah, the vets who helped Donya, and everyone else who cared about her.

I know Sarah felt terrible and that she had no idea what would happen. She didn’t even get a phone call and had no chance to take Donya back.

I’m angry that the life of this sweet, lovable angel was cut short unnecessarily, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Look at Donya’s face in this picture I took a few weeks before she left Korea. Does she look as if she’s beyond help?

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