On the 23rd August 2017, Inca, the beloved five year old black Labrador owned by Hilton resident Charlotte Bracken, was struck down without warning, by a disorder of the peripheral nervous system, leaving her completely paralysed. Inca was still able to breathe but the only other sign of life in her crippled body were her expressive, loving eyes.
A weekend under observation at the local veterinary clinic confirmed the terrible news that the only cure for Inca was intensive nursing during an estimated 4 to 6-week recovery period. There was however no guarantee of a full recovery for her.
Life as they knew it in the Bracken household changed and the process of healing Inca gained momentum. Housekeeper Zama became chief matron and carer. The TV room became the nursing ward. Inca required 24 hours attention, and had to be turned every two to three hours, and fed and watered via a syringe. Bracken confessed that “faced with this terrifying disease I tried any suggestions that might help with the healing process, which was met with different reactions. Some thought that our zeal was misguided, but mostly, the support we have had from friends, acquaintances and professionals has been unbelievable.”
Bracken says “it’s impossible to mention every individual who played a part in this traumatic turn of events but deserving of immediate mention, and huge thanks are my children Joseph and Georgie, and my husband Angus, Jen at Hilton Vets and the wonderful nursing staff, Fernando the dog whisperer who did reiki on her, Cheyne who gave Beamer therapy, Di who did T Touch massage on her and “magic” physio Karen Laubscher.”
“A special hero in this story is Zama,” says Bracken, “and I thank her for her consistent support to Inca, sometimes lying with her for 2 hours, and showing such unremmiting love for Inca. Zama has overcome her fear of water and learnt to swim, spending many hours daily doing physio in the pool with Inca, in a special life jacket. Inca showed such courage and zest for life as she chased her ball in the water.
Slowly but surely Inca showed signs of recovery, with the first indication being just a lift of her head. Any little change became a source of jubilation until the day, 9 weeks after her collapse, Inca had the strength to stand up and from that day onwards her progress has been marked.
Inca is now very attached to her two carers and both Zama and Charlotte say how much they have learnt during these past few months. Watching Zama’s interaction with Inca it is patently obvious that Inca and Zama share a special bond. Her voice fills with emotion as Zama says
“I learned to care about animals and I have learned many things – swimming, remaining positive, having faith, and doing something for love, and beyond the call of duty. I learnt so much about myself, and surprised myself doing things I never thought myself capable of.”
“Zama continues to swim and it is wonderful to hear her shrieks of laughter and delight as she and Inca enjoy themselves – not so much for therapy but for the pure joy of life!” smiles Charlotte as we conclude our story with the happy ending!