Moscow – Monika, a Russian rescue dog whose poor mobility and strong odor caused her rescuers to smuggle her out of a plastic bag inside a refrigerator, is happy again.
Russian vets who removed her legs and arms helped Monika settle into her new new life — perhaps the most remarkable upgrade of the wild find in Siberian wilderness.
“The first time, I had nightmares about cats,” the 15-year-old pooch told the newspaper TASS on Wednesday. Now, she’s taken to a sunny apartment and more appropriate clothing.
“Once, I had to pee and struggled to stop myself from puking. I was very timid,” she said of her nine-month journey.
Monika’s troubles started in 2014 when her human rescuers took her into their car and dumped her in a crevice. She was in such bad shape that she looked like “dancing ashes,” She belonged to a group of dogs trained to help abandoned domestic animals stay alive.
The first sign of human kindness was two years ago, when two men stumbled across Monika while hiking near the town of Zarakhovskaya near Russia’s border with Kazakhstan. Her heartbroken owner was having a drug withdrawal.
Monika was released back into the wild. Her soundlessness, hiding in an otherwise devoid landscape, and distinct odor of urine and urine-furred fur frightened pheasants and farmed her to a home of a few coyotes.
Monika stayed in place for a year before a rare encounter with a big green bear provided the breakout through which Monika discovered new life. The furry bear scooped Monika into her mouth, and the woman who led her said the rescue was no longer a daunting adventure — it became “an everyday occurrence.”
After a $1,500 donation from a Dutch family (Germany approved the payment earlier in the year), Russian vets removed Monika’s below-the-knee and upper-arm legs from the location where her paws were covered in sores. She regained much of her mobility with new artificial legs.
A video recently posted on the Ruptly news website, along with Monika’s photo, shows her walking around an apartment without any aid.
“We are so happy to have her home,” Ivan Passayev, the dog’s owner, said in the video.
Passayev said he was looking forward to a walk with his dog at his office.
Her adaptation went well. “I can now walk up and down stairs without any difficulty,” she said.
Before her operation, Passayev said, Monika “started talking to her new legs.”
She joked that “they speak Russian” and held hands with her new human counterparts. Passayev found Monika’s nieces and nephews at the apartment complex, and took them for a stroll.
He said that Monika’s new life had brought her “the best opportunities, friendship and education.”