The Story of a Russian Vet Who Saved a Crippled Tiger (Besides Dozens of Cats and Dogs)

Karen Dallakyan is a vet that works and lives in Chelyabinsk but his name is famous overseas. He was invited to move to Moscow, Greece, and the US. Dallakyan can find a way to work with any animal patient and is ready to take on the most difficult cases and treat exotic and dangerous animals.

The famous vet shared his story and his professional approach with the Bright Side team.

Karen Dallakyan started his career as a regular vet. He was born in Yerevan and went to Vologda to study in college. Later, he went to Chelyabinsk for a short time and decided to stay to live and work there. Later, when he realized that private clinics cared more about making a profit than helping animals, he set up his own company. He has been working for more than 30 years.

His first unusual patient was a leopard cub named Garik that was born in a Kazan zoo. He was brought in with paralysis that was caused by too much protein in his diet because the cub was fed incorrectly. Everyone thought it was going to die but Dallakyan managed to cure him. Cats helped him with the treatment. They massaged the small predator with their paws and bit him a little, helping to make his body work again.

Not only did the vet receive gratitude from the animals for saving their lives, but he also fell in love with him. For example, a monkey named Marusya was saved from hypothermia. Because the animal was pretty exotic, Dallakyan started looking for information on how to treat it and even consulted a child doctor. In the end, it was decided to give warm wine to the monkey. When the monkey got better, it started talking to the vet in its own language and petting his arms. She started to attack the female staff of the clinic — the monkey was jealous of his savior.

Dallakyan has a lot of stories like this about the animals he has saved, from hedgehogs and swans to wolves and lions!

But one story completely changed the vet’s life. One day, his colleague from a different region called him and started telling him about a tiger that was brought in with a terrible fever and he didn’t know what to do with him. He sounded really worried.

The same night, the huge animal was brought into Chelyabinsk. On his face, there was a huge wound that smelled like decay. The pathological process had already spread to the tiger’s bone tissue. According to the people who transported him, the tiger (who was just 5 months old) was given some raw chicken and he pierced his face with a bone. The local vet took his tooth out which only made the situation worse.

Dallakyan took care of the tiger named Jorik. The tiger was on the brink of death for 6 months. When he came to his senses, he wreaked havoc in the room he was being held in, breaking everything in sight — he even ripped off his bandages. But none the less, he was beginning to get better. And one time after another surgery, he actually started to purr. Since then, Dallakyan has slept alongside the tiger, eaten breakfast with him, and walked with him.

When the baby tiger finally recovered, the vet called the zookeepers and told them that they could pick up the tiger. But when they came and saw that a part of his face was missing, they said that 6 months later they would pick him up for skinning. Dallakyan couldn’t bear the thought of that happening and started collecting money to buy the tiger himself. He asked people from the city and they agreed to help.

Not only did the vet manage to buy the baby tiger, but he also sent him to a rehabilitation center known as Utes located in Taiga. So, thanks to Dallakyan’s work, the tiger survived and turned his zoo cage into a natural habitat. And eventually, his story became famous.

It’s quite hard to find any information on how to treat exotic animals. It was especially hard in the ’90s when it was impossible to search on Google or connect with colleagues from abroad. At that time, Dallakyan based his decisions on his own experience and knowledge, he visited different conferences and seminars, and read special literature (sometimes in foreign languages with the help of a handy dictionary).

One of the most important lessons he learned from his patients was that you should always go with your gut. “The heart never lies. It never shows the wrong way,” says Dallakyan, almost quoting The Little Prince.

It is likely this approach is what allowed him to help not only dogs and cats, but also tigers, bears, snakes, and other dangerous animals. And believe it or not, he was never hurt by these creatures. Dallakyan’s wife is sure that animals won’t hurt her husband because they can sense that he wants to help them.

It’s also important to note that family support is really important to Dallakyan. Patience, love, understanding, and the care of his wife, children, and father are all things that help the famous animal doctor do his job. “My 2 sons are the biggest help,” he admits. And before he had a real shelter, his apartment served as a sanctuary for different animals and birds that required care. Everyone wanted to help Dallakyan!

Dallakyan set up an animal protection fund, Save Me, after having rehabilitated the tiger. He also opened a shelter for different animals that suffered from unfair treatment. Of course, he now has even more work to do and despite the help he receives from many people, the doctor has to spend a lot of time in his workplace, seeing patients around the clock.

The vet and his colleagues also do educational work. They organize lectures, seminars, exhibitions, and meetings in libraries. According to Dallakyan, few people in his country know how to deal with animals which leads to a lot of problems for both animals and people.

The fund also collaborates with the rehabilitation center for children because animals have a positive influence on people’s moods.

I want to live to see the day when I no longer see any animals that were almost tortured,” Karen says. And when we asked him if he believed it was really possible, he said that he hoped for the best. Because optimism really helps in his line of work.

Have you ever met such committed people? Tell us about them.

Preview photo credit Kristina Vysockaja / Facebook
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