Ivy: A Heartwarming Story of Rescue and Recovery

Ivy was horribly injured by another dog in her own backyard. There were open wounds all over her face and body. But her owner didn’t take her to the vet.

“Ivy’s injuries couldn’t wait – it was an emergency,” says Inspector Natalie.

“But it was also clear that her need for medical attention was more than a few days old.

She was very skinny, and the infection around her ears made me think there’d

been issues there for a long time.”

Up to 3,000 animals will come through our shelter doors this winter, having nowhere else to turn. They’ll all need immediate attention, but of course, we don’t know how many will arrive as injured and sick as Ivy.

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The rising cost of living is affecting everyone, and our shelters are feeling the impact. Not only are vital things like medications, veterinary equipment and electricity becoming more expensive, but we’re also seeing more animals being surrendered because people sadly aren’t able to afford to meet their needs. Many vets offer payment plans or, if there’s no other way, sick or injured pets can be surrendered to a welfare organisation like the RSPCA.


It’s the responsibility of every owner to act in the best interest of their animal, even when it’s difficult – Ivy’s health and wellbeing should have come first.

When an animal like Ivy is injured, it’s important to act fast. Otherwise, wounds get infected. Injuries worsen. Conditions become more complicated to treat, and the animal’s chance of recovering may be at risk. That’s what happened to Ivy. She was being kept in a small backyard with another dog when a fight broke out. When a member of the public reported a serious welfare concern, Inspector Natalie went to the property to investigate. The owner was compliant and admitted there’d been a fight. He’d been keeping a second dog for a friend, but realised he couldn’t look after it anymore.

His friend’s dog had only minor injuries and was otherwise in good condition. But his dog – Ivy – had been hurt. Although he knew it was bad, her owner said he hadn’t had the time or the funds to take her to the vet.

Inspector Natalie asked him to bring Ivy out so she could assess the dog’s condition. When she heard a loud yelp coming from inside the house, she braced herself for what she was about to see. Ivy’s injuries were shocking. But Inspector Natalie could immediately tell there was more going on.

“Ivy was so quiet and lethargic, she didn’t react to anything. It was like she was still in shock, but it had been days since the fight. It’s possible the pain was so overwhelming, she was almost numb.”

After leaving a written direction for the other dog to be presented to a vet within 24 hours, Inspector Natalie seized Ivy and rushed her back to our shelter’s vet hospital. She was finally given pain relief while the team examined her, and gained a more complete picture of her devastating condition.

“Her face was really swollen and covered in bite wounds. One in her mouth was so deep, her jawbone was exposed,” recalls Inspector Natalie. “Her ears were so badly infected that the tissue was dying. And on top of her external injuries, she was also sick – this poor dog was emaciated, dehydrated, anaemic, had hookworm and a fever.”

Ivy spent a week in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where our team could monitor her closely. She was put on IV fluids and given a whole host of medications – antibiotics, de-wormers, and pain relief – which made her more comfortable.

As the days went by, the bite marks all over Ivy’s body started to heal, but it became clear that Ivy’s health issues were very complex and would require extensive care. Ivy struggled to put on weight. Underweight dogs tend to get stronger fairly quickly once they’re on a feeding plan, but Ivy didn’t. Her body was working hard to fight off multiple infections – especially in her ears. She needed to be put under general anaesthetic so the vet team could assess the severity, drain the fluid, and remove the dead tissue.

The infection was found to go deep into her ear canal and a sample was taken for analysis. The results would indicate which medication had the best chance of bringing the infection under control, because there was a great deal at stake. This poor dog was at risk of losing both of her ears. Not only would this mean more surgery and significant physical changes – it could also affect Ivy’s chances of being adopted.

Our team tried everything they could to heal the infection. A special ear medication was even tailored to her needs, and carefully administered every few days. It was a tough few weeks for Ivy.

The other area of concern was her leg. Her limp was getting more pronounced, and X-rays showed she had a hyperextension injury of her carpus, which is the equivalent of our wrist. It may have happened during the fight, as this type of injury is usually caused by impact. The damage to her ligament wasn’t healing, which meant Ivy struggled to bear weight on her front right leg.

A vet specialist confirmed that the injury would only get worse over time, causing long-term pain for Ivy. She needed surgery to fuse the joint – inserting a plate and screws would allow her joint to heal at the correct angle. The recovery would be difficult, but at only three years old, Ivy deserved the chance to run and play without pain for years to come.

Happy outcomes like this are only possible with your support. Your kindness will make a big difference for animals like Ivy this winter who are in desperate need of urgent medical treatment, a safe place to recover and, of course, plenty of love.

Thank you for being a caring friend to vulnerable animals. The coming months will be challenging for our team, and it means the world to know you’re standing alongside us.

There is no excuse to leave an animal in pain.

Click to donate to Ivy’s Tax Appeal. 

Or click here to adopt our beautiful Ivy.


Watch Ivy’s Tails here:

Ivy’s Tail: Attacked, neglected & alone

Ivy’s Tail: Safe but still at risk

Ivy’s Tail: On the road to recovery

Ivy’s Tail: A vital surgery for lingering pain

Ivy’s Tail: Healthy, happy & ready for love

Ivy Tax 2023 – Direct

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RSPCA NSW Ivy Mobile

There is no excuse for leaving an animal in pain

Join us in making a difference in the lives of vulnerable animals this winter. Your donation can provide vital care and treatment for animals like Ivy, who suffer from neglect and abuse.

Imagine the pain and fear that Ivy experienced after being attacked by another dog. Imagine her loneliness and desperation as she waited for days without medical attention. No animal should have to suffer like this.

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But you can help us make a difference. With your support, we can provide the urgent care and complex surgeries that animals like Ivy need to heal and thrive. We’re expecting up to 3,000 more animals to come through our shelter doors this winter, and we need your help to make sure they receive the care they deserve.

Ivy’s journey to recovery was long and difficult, but with the help of generous donors like you, she made a full recovery. Your donation can make the same difference for other animals in need.

Your tax-deductible donation can provide life-saving medical treatment, treats and toys, and a warm, safe place to sleep for vulnerable animals in our care. With your help, we can give them the second chance they deserve.

Please give as generously as you can today, and help us save the lives of animals in need this winter. Together, we can make a difference.

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