Hopper was a regular at the Ambepussa Rest House. Each evening as the shadows lengthened she would appear, silently, like a shadow herself. She would accept her dinner and gulp it down before running off to hide again.
She was brought to our attention when a caring passer by spotted her and quickly realised from her loose rolls of hairless skin that she was suffering from a severe skin infection.
The Embark field team left for Ambepussa early morning following the rescue call, to locate Hopper. She was nowhere to be seen. A quick chat with rest house wait staff revealed that everyone knew of the unusual dog but aside from her daily evening visit, her whereabouts were a mystery. She would appear at dusk for her meal before disappearing without a trace until the next day, when she would reappear once more. We settled in for a long wait, hoping she would break her routine just once and show up sooner. The hours stretched on and there was no sign of her. Finally, darkness began to fall. We suddenly spotted a shadowy figure standing before us. She was nervous as she approached the rest house. The wait staff had been informed not to provide her usual meal and to lead her to us instead. Plenty of coaxing and enticing followed but she insisted on keeping her distance until we finally held out a piece of hopper, a Sri Lankan pancake with crispy edges. She gingerly put one foot forward, her nose twitching. We stood like statues as she hesitantly approached the piece of hopper. The moment she reached forward we sprang into action and threw a catching net over her. It was this first encounter that earned Hopper her name. She was afraid at first but calmed down by the time we reached the hospital.
Several weeks of skin treatment followed but Hopper also lacked social skills. She was fearful of people and other dogs. She would sit pressed against the wall in a corner of her enclosure. Making friends with Hopper took patience and many packets of Marie biscuits. During the initial weeks, it was the only reason she would leave her corner. Today, Hopper is happy in the company of people and other dogs, she is growing beautiful auburn fur and is ready for a home.