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A Wheel Good Factor

Angela and Ian Szczypka came to Goa for a holiday, but they got a lot more than they bargained for — returning (eventually) to the UK with a new family member, Indy

In 2014, Angela and Ian Szczypka from Essex, UK, visited an animal rescue centre in Goa where they fell in love with a desi puppy. The Szczypkas, however, were appalled by the conditions at the shelter and their hearts went out to the pup when they discovered she had lost the use of her two back legs, following a violent attack by another dog when she was two months old. Speaking of the moment they laid eyes on the pooch that would one day become theirs, Angela said, “We were quite shocked by what we saw there. It was basically this big compound. They were all fed and looked after there, but it was quite graphic. Indy was the saddest looking dog there. She had had a broken back, so was just dragging her back legs around. We were told she’d been attacked by a bigger dog.” She was very shy and nervous when the couple, both 28 that time, found her.

They decided to build her confidence by taking her out every day with a harness that lifted her back legs so she could use her front legs to walk. They also massaged her legs to try to get some movement or feeling back in them. Angela said, “Just in those couple of weeks, the change in her was amazing and she turned into quite a happy dog.” The couple’s constant visits to the shelter helped them to develop a bond with the pooch, which they named Indy. And when it came time to leave India, they simply weren’t ready to do it without her. “We wanted to make Indy happy and give her a really nice life,” Angela said. But the process was not a swift one and it took nine months before Indy was relocated to the UK. “It took nine months to get her here. We paid for her to go to a daycare centre in India for £3 a day. By the time she got her flight here, she’d put a bit of weight on and could get around a bit better,” Angela said. “We picked her up from the airport and it was amazing. She was so overwhelmed she walked straight into the glass doors! But she recognised us which was lovely.”

Their compassion meant spending £2,300 to airlift Indy to their home in Benfleet, Essex, but watching keep pace with the couple’s other dogs, using her hot wheels, means it was money well spent. Indy is now thriving and has made friends with the other pets in the family but it hasn’t been easy. Making things a little easier is the fact that she has more freedom to move after she was gifted a special wheelchair. “A man in Kent made us a wheelchair for £300. He’s amazing. He makes ski wheelchairs for dogs in Sweden, and for dogs all over the world. It took a while to get it made because Indy’s got a funny body shape. She’s a bit like a seal when she walks,” Angela explained. Indy can now enjoy trips to the beach, the woods and other places where the terrain might have been impossible for her to handle before. “As soon as she got the wheels she was off. She runs around in it all the time. She runs along the beach, in the woods where we live, and on all terrains. She’s had one accident when she decided to chase a squirrel up a tree but fell backwards and ended up on her back,” Angela recalled. Adopting Indy has cost the couple a large sum of money (more than £2,300) and now that there is hope she may be able to walk in the future (vets discovered that she can still wag her tail) her care is going to cost even more money. So the Szczypkas have set up a fund for Indy, in the hopes of taking her to a “supervet” — where the initial appointment is £250 alone. “Once we’ve figured out whether there’s something they can do, it would be thousands of pounds for any treatment. But we’re not going to worry about that just yet,” Angela revealed.


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