It is a heart-wrenching scenario to see a helpless streetie injured in the middle of the road. Being an animal lover, it is natural to feel compassion and do what you can to help, but you need to safely assess the situation, without putting yourself or the animal in danger. Here’s what you can do to provide safe and effective help to any injured stray:
Approach the streetie slowly and calmly:
Remember that any injured animal would feel scared and threatened especially strays. If the streetie is displaying aggressive behavior, such as growling or snarling, it's best to keep your distance and call for professional help. If the animal seems friendly, approach slowly and calmly, speaking in a soft, soothing voice.
Assess the streetie's injuries:
Take a look at their injuries and try to determine how serious they are. If they are bleeding heavily or has a broken bone that is protruding from the skin, it's best to call for professional help right away. If the injuries seem minor, you may be able to provide first aid yourself.
Provide first aid, if possible:
If the streetie's injuries are minor, you can try and provide first aid. Clean any cuts or scrapes with a bar of mild soap and water, and cover them with a clean bandage. If the streetie has a minor burn, run cool water over the area for at least five minutes, then cover the burn with a clean, dry cloth. If the poor thing is unconscious, gently lift their head and check for any visible injuries. If you find any, try to provide first aid as best you can.
Just as is the case for humans, the ABC rule of first aid applies to animals as well. Here's what you need to know:
Airway: Make sure that the animal can breathe properly, with no foreign object blocking its airways (like mud, or if they have clogged nostrils).
Breathing: If the airways are clear, then look for signs of unlaboured breathing. If you see any distress, blow air into their nostrils or mouth.
Circulation: PROCEED WITH CAUTION! If you are absolutely sure that you will not get bitten, open the lip so that you can see the gums. Press one finger on the gums and check how fast the colour returns back to the gums. If it takes more than 2-5 seconds for the colour to return, then immediately rush to the nearest veterinarian. Try to keep the streetie warm if they are cold and shivering, or use an ice pack if they feel too warm to the touch.
Transport the streetie to a veterinarian:
If the injuries are more serious, or if you're not comfortable providing first aid, it's best to transport them to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If the streetie is small enough to be carried, place them in a sturdy cardboard box or crate, and cover the crate with a blanket to help keep them calm. If the streetie is too large to be carried, try to gently move them onto a blanket or towel, and then drag the blanket or towel to a vehicle. Be sure to keep them as calm as possible during transport.
Contact your local animal rescue group or animal control:
If you're unable to transport the streetie yourself, or if they are too sick or injured to be moved, contact your local animal rescue group or animal control agency for help. They can provide the streetie with the medical care they need and find them a new home if necessary.
Consider adopting the furry friend:
If you feel a strong connection to the injured stray and want to provide them with a forever home, consider adopting them once they have recovered from its injuries. Keep in mind that stray animals may have behavioural issues or medical conditions that will require ongoing care, so be prepared to make a long-term commitment.
Always be prepared:
If you are an animal lover, and you know you cannot help but rescue an injured stray, then why not keep yourself well-prepared to do the best possible job? Keep an animal first-aid handy at all times in your car, have cardboard boxes, muzzles, strong-smelling foods (to lure them), heavy blankets, and thick gloves ready at your disposal, so that the next time you see an injured stray, you will be well-equipped to handle the emergency.
Helping an injured stray needs patience, compassion, and a well-thought-out plan of action. Be wary of the circumstances and do not rush into anything. You might further spook the streetie, making it more defensive, or you may even exacerbate the injuries, and you definitely do not want that happening. If you are not sure what to do, you can always video call a veterinarian, who can direct you as to what needs to be done. They are our precious little streeties after all, and they deserve a second chance at a happy life.