Dennis is a crossbred German Wirehaired Pointer. He came to me after a period in foster care. His first family were devastated to have to give him up after a tragic bereavement- one of the rarer cases when re-homing is not due to irresponsible ownership.
Dennis is quite a handful, and not for the faint hearted- he’s the sort of dog to be easily misunderstood and the type whom things can go terribly wrong for. He was lucky, but others pay with their life. He has a number of issues- for a behavioural case study of Dennis, please click here.
Hoppy is a terrier stray who was found on a dual carriageway in flood water. He had a brachial avulsion injury which has left him with a permanent limp- hence the name. He was shy at first but soon revealed his cheeky confident persona. His disability certainly doesn’t slow him down!
Fleur is a Greyhound x Saluki who appeared to have been a breeding bitch. She was found straying having aborted her puppies. She was extremely thin and had septic mastitis. Her claws were curled over and cutting into her pads, suggesting she had not been exercised.
From an extremely frightened, bewildered hound, she has blossomed into a hugely affectionate character. She’s also very brave, as after fracturing her humerus in a nasty accident she’s endured several major operations and loads of physiotherapy- all with placid goodwill. It’s heartbreaking that such a vulnerable personality has known so many hard times.
Tulla is another Greyhound x Saluki stray- probably thrown out when she was deemed unfit for ‘work’. She really doesn’t have that much hunting instinct for a lurcher, she’d rather play with Hoppy! A shame when failure to exploit one species to kill another results in abandonment.
Red was a very sad and damaged dog when he was found wandering. He was infested with mites, deep skin infections and covered in open sores. His skin was horribly inflamed and he scratched it until it bled. Most of his body had lost its fur, he was painfully thin and suffering from anaemia. The lower half of his tail appeared to have been deliberately cut off, and the tip was decaying. After surgery and a long course of treatment he made a full physical recovery and is now a stunning dog. But his psychological scars remain and he has a variety of phobias and anxiety issues, particularly a fear of people.
Mr Griffles , yet another stray, was found in the road, cold and frightened.
He had mange and was very underweight.
Clearly never socialised to human beings, he is terrified of them until he gets to know them. He is happy to meet and greet all other dogs though- a behavioural profile typical of dogs who originate from puppy farms.
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George (aka Mr Paws) was homed but returned to death row after destroying a £2000 fitted kitchen. There’s a reason why Collie type dogs are not a good pet for sedentary elderly people! Instead of death, he lived 15 excellent years of good times. His finest hour was escaping on campus at Liverpool vet school, and having a little nose round the super-sterile equine orthopaedic theatre in the middle of an operation on a million pound racehorse!
Sally was brought in to a private practice with a request for euthanasia because she was old and unwanted. She was 8, and lived actively for a further 5 years without ill health.
Eddie had already been in three homes, and was with a re-homing charity because the most recent of them didn’t want to pay for a minor operation. A GSD x Collie, he was possibly the most easy, laid back dog in the world. He deserved better, but lived another 18 months before developing lung cancer.
Brown Dog was a lurcher with attitude. She had been through several homes, and was always returned because she was not a typical sofa-dwelling pointy nose. She took to fell running though, and lived to age 11. It would be a lie to say she was trouble-free, but Brown was certainly entertaining!
Pedwar had been seized from an owner who kept him in a shed and never took him out. He was so damaged he was difficult to re-home, and was kennelled for several months. He was extremely depressed. After 15 months of rehabilitation he played for the first time. He was always prone to anxiety, but his quality of life was excellent and he was 14 years old when he died.
Spare Dog was a prosecution case for cruelty. She was starved and neglected, with such severe skin disease that it damaged her kidneys. The text books gave her a life expectancy of around 6 months, but she clearly hadn’t read them since she carried on loving life for over 5 more years!
Alfie (re-named Barney) was seized as an 8 week old pup, for neglect. He was in liver failure due to starvation. You can see from the picture how weak he was. His tendons had collapsed due to malnutrition. He recovered and grew into a handsome Saluki type, in a loving permanent home.
Ivy strayed onto main road on Christmas eve, and was run over, fracturing her femur. The police brought her inside a hold-all! She was never claimed, and would have faced death but for a kind colleague repairing her leg on Christmas Day! She’s a real beauty, and now lives in the lap of luxury in Wales.
Moel (re-named Bella) was left tied to a tree as a young pup. She was malnourished to a degree that had caused rickets (a third world disease). She made a full recovery and has a fabulous home where she is doted on as she deserves.
Blue is a very special dog because he taught me about the canine overpopulation issue. I was working in a temporary job, and went into another room for some equipment.
Unknown to me it was council dog destruction day- there were 3 dead dogs in the corner of the room, and Blue was about to become the fourth. This is the reality of too much breeding and irresponsible ownership. By nothing more than random chance, Blue didn’t become a forgotten statistic, but spent the rest of his life galloping around a fruit orchard with a big smile on his face.
Alvie was sadly re-homed after both his owners died in unforeseen circumstances. He was a large and difficult dog, but thankfully there are people out there who want to help, and he now has the moors of Yorkshire to entertain him.
Scarlet was picked up from a lay-by where she was found having seizures. She had mycotoxin (mould) poisoning due to scavenging for food. A microchip trace found she had been sold 3 times before her first birthday- another demonstration of how vulnerable lurchers can be to mistreatment. She was very sick for a time, but did recover and found a loving home- this time for life.
The dogs described here were both unlucky and lucky in different ways. Some of them were never in danger, some of them only lived by chance. Some of them suffered horribly for way too long. To help prevent suffering through education, legislative change, and sanctuary for dogs please visit my fundraising page here.