Steffi’s story: our brave Egyptian princess

Steffi joined the Twilight pudding pack in September 2020. This was the first time we had taken a dog from outside of Europe. Way back, we’d been asked by Marylin, from Furey’s Furry friends whether we could consider taking an Egyptian paraplegic? Then, it wasn’t the right time. But she was gently persistent and finally Steffi flew from Cairo to CDG airport and started her road journey home.

Steffi soon gained a place in everyone’s hearts. She’d been named by the winners of one of our fundraising auctions. Our fifth paraplegic and probably in the worst state we have received. She came through Miracle’s Mission, and boy, was her new life a miracle for her. From living as a street dog, to being one of many in a refuge, to a selected dog, to many hours on a plane dog, to a new life dog. Her back is broken, likely from kicking, or maybe she was hit by a car side. Sadly, two-thirds of her back was dead and her poor legs so swollen from multiple infections and necrosis. We knew that it would be a battle to keep dear Steffi free from infection. Her dressings were changed daily, and she was so patient while we gently attended to her needs.

Steffi in full flight across the garden

Steffi impressed everyone with her joie de vivre. There was nothing she liked more than galloping across the garden on two legs, chasing Bear or Dobbie or just running for the very pleasure of it. She loved life, and she loved Mummy Twilight with whom she had a very special bond. Steffi would often ‘sing’ to Mummy, and she did like a good bark at any visitor or volunteers she was a bit suspicious of. Sadly, after just under a year, despite all our care, Steffi developed a terrible infection. It was clear her legs were affected and a swift visit to the vets confirmed that amputation was the only option.

The vets operated on one leg to begin with, but this was not straightforward. Due to her disabilities the veins and arteries were displaced, and the surgeon had problems with bleeding. Nevertheless, Steffi came through her operation, and everyone was on tenterhooks over the next few days following her progress. Sadly, there were several setbacks. Steffi chewed through her bandages, her wound required restitching twice and we had no option but to confine her to a pen, which she didn’t really like. Over a few days Steffi began to decline; she had lost a lot of blood and had become weak. One morning it was clear that Steffi was very ill and Leeanne called the vet immediately. Our dear friend Debbie weas staying at twilight at the time and recounts the events of that morning:

“It has been almost a year since I was last at Twilight, due to moving house and doing renovation work I haven’t been able to visit as often as usual and I have missed it so very much. So, it was wonderful to arrive back with a carload of donated bedding and to receive the usual wonderful warm welcome from Leeanne and Mike and, of course, the puddings.

There have been quite a few changes since my last visit, several new faces and some missing too sadly. My first afternoon was spent catching up on news and enjoying lots of pudding cuddles. We sat together, dear Steffi made it quite clear at first that she wasn’t happy at having me near so I kept my distance, she barked vociferously each time I dared to get up and move but gradually she became more accepting, allowing me to stroke her and speak gently to her. But the thing that made us friends was when I fed her some sausages, after that she must have decided I wasn’t all bad!

Steffi was always where we were and her eyes were constantly watching her mummy, the bond between them so very special, the love and care lavished on her by Mummy Twilight something very precious to witness.

My normal morning routine is to come downstairs and be greeted by the puddings as I open the door. This morning there was something clearly amiss and so I went straight through the kitchen to let the puddings out into the garden totally unaware until she spoke that Leeanne was lying on the floor next to darling Steffi who was terribly unwell. Leeanne had by that time already called the vet so all I could do was try to calm the puddings and prepare for the vet’s arrival. It wasn’t long to wait.

The puddings were gathered together as the vet made his examination and gave the news that Leeanne didn’t want to hear but knew was inevitable by this time. As Steffi slipped over the Rainbow Bridge with her mummy lying beside her the room was absolutely silent. There was not so much as a murmur from any of the puddings, it really was quite incredible and extremely humbling to witness.

We cried, of course, and then we sat together with Daddy Twilight, Auntie Ann and Wendy remembering such a special girl, one who has touched so many lives. It was a privilege to be there as you crossed the Bridge Steffi, you were greatly loved and your mummy and daddy will hold you in their hearts always xxx”

Steffi’s life is best summed up in this lovely quote from Leeanne:

Darling Steffi is so happy and full of her life. Her broken back and legs mean nothing to her. She is the first to rush to me in the morning, loves her cuddles, plays with her mates and goes exploring the garden on her own … she just lives every moment.