Russian rescue dog Monika has a new leash after prosthetic surgery


By Olga Pavlova and Jeevan Ravindran, CNN

Russian rescue dog Monika is springing up after being fitted with prosthetic titanium legs – just months after medics suggested she should be shot due to serious injuries.

The operation was carried out by veterinarian Sergei Gorshkov, based in the city of Novosibirsk and who has fitted 37 animals with prosthetic limbs since 2015 – although Monika is the first dog to benefit from her work.

Two weeks after her operation, the dog is adjusting well to her new mobility – and Gorshkov says she will soon lead a normal life, although he was “surprised” by the speed of her recovery.

“I don’t think we were optimistic about it,” he told CNN. “But on the third day, she started to get up and walk around the clinic, going from room to room. “

However, getting Monika into the operating room was not easy.

Monika was placed in the care of animal rescue volunteers Marina Gapich and Alla Leonkina, based in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar, where she had her damaged limbs amputated and received a blood transfusion.

Gapich told CNN that she and Leonkina had had “sleepless nights” with Monika and that they did not agree with the vet’s advice to have her euthanized. The two women contacted Gorshkov and collected 400,000 Russian rubles (over $ 5,400) for the operation.

Monika’s prostheses then had to be printed by a 3D printer in the city of Troitstk, not far from Moscow, and then bio-clad at Tomsk Polytechnic University before Gorshkov performed the procedure.

For the vet, much of his work has taken on new meaning over the past 18 months, with the “pet pandemic” being particularly important to some.

“I have been happy to breathe new life into animals especially now during Covid,” Gorshkov said. “People find some solace in animals and so in treating animals, I am treating people.”

And Monika has already found her place in the hearts of the volunteers who saved her. When asked if the dog would stay in Novosibirsk, Gapich’s response was an emphatic no.

“We are her caregivers, we are responsible for her! She told CNN, adding that she and Leonkina were in contact with a London-based animal behaviorist who could now be consulted on Monika’s case.

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