Bran is a chocolate labrador. He was born on a puppy farm in mid-Wales and was the last unsold puppy at 12 weeks of age so was spending his days in a crate all alone in a large, dark barn. The owner of the puppy farm was going on holiday and had timed his litters so that the person coming to care for the adult dogs would not have any puppies to worry about and so Bran was advertised in the Free Ads as "free to a good home" along with a very sickly year old dog. Fortunately, the ad was spotted by some excellent rescue people.
1. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
2. Chronic and severe bi-lateral elbow dysplasia
3. Chronic and severe hip dysplasia in his right hip
4. Suspected hip dysplasia in his left hip
5. Atopical allergies to 8 known allergens
6. Allergy to bee/wasp stings
7. Pain in base of spine/tail
The way that these things are handled is as follows:
1. He eats only ground mince (meat/flesh/bone) and I have to juggle several meats at a time to ensure that he is not being fed one type of meat often enough to develop an intolerance to it. He cannot tolerate any fruit or vegetables other than potato. Treats have to be 100% meat.
2. He has had a customised vaccine made up to try and train his body to tolerate the 8 known allergens better. Currently, we are building this up by injecting him every few days, then it will be every few weeks and eventually it will be administered - by me - every month for the rest of his life. Daily and frequent exposure to the known allergens has to be managed carefully which means that his beloved rabbit fur dummies, etc have had to be rehomed and Flora's precious memorial plant needs to be rehomed to my mum's house.
3. He is on 2 different stomach meds, an anti-histamine and painkillers which equate to the need for him to take 10 tablets over 2 intervals every day. We have tried many, many, many different painkillers and they have - so far - always triggered IBD flares. He seems to be tolerating the current one - PLT - quite well as it contains a little prednisolone (steroid) and Bran's body quite likes steroids! The PLT seems to be working at the moment, but he's only been on it for a few weeks and I am constantly watching for signs that an IBD flare is on it's way.
4. The severity of the elbow dysplasia and his right hip dysplasia is such that, ideally, he needs all 3 joints replacing as a matter of urgency. However, the meds needed to get him through each one of those 3 major operations and recovery are likely to cause enough damage to his gut that he could never recover. Bearing in mind that we don't want to give him an unnecessary GA, we can't tell just how bad the HD in his left hip is at the moment and we could find that it is almost as bad as his right and then we're looking at 4 major operations. It is too much to ask one dog to cope with and the risks are so great that we have made the decision to not go ahead with any of the replacements. This means that Bran turned 4 just a few weeks ago and I have already had to have the conversation with my vets about where we draw the line.
5. At the moment, we are not doing anything about the spine/tail problem but he sees a vet usually every 1-2 weeks and it will be followed up if it doesn't seem to be improving.
Thankfully, Bran has been insured from day one and this year alone he has used up almost all of his £7,000 allowance with several months still to go before renewal. His life is very limited and he cannot manage regular, daily walks. We have had to give up training classes as he physically couldn't cope with them any more. I let him do exactly what he feels he can do so if he feels like throwing his toys around or chasing the puppies up and down the stairs or bouncing on the sofas or my bed, then that's exactly what he does. He has occasional trips out where he has walks with friends or on the beach or where he can go swimming and then he'll spend 3 days sleeping off the soreness and stiffness afterwards. He loves car trips and I take him with me wherever I possibly can.
Looking on the positive side:
So. There we have it. Bran is a fine example of why not to buy a puppy farmed puppy (he was rescued from a puppy farm at 12 weeks old just a few days before joining our family) and he is, quite clearly, a train wreck of a dog. I know this. My amazing, incredible vets know this. My family know this. My friends know this. Bran, however, does not know this. He throws himself into life with such gusto that I cannot fail to be awed by his spirit and joy and love. I would like nothing more than to believe that I will have this incredible dog by my side well into his old age, but the reality is that he is already on borrowed time and the unfairness of it all makes me furious!
We bought a puppy 4 weeks ago from a man in Hamel Hampstead, the puppies were 12 weeks old no injection 'apparently' wormed, the puppies seems healthy were very shy for the first 10/15 mins but then gradually came closer, but still being weary, which we just passed off as being puppies and they had never met us before? we stayed with the puppies to see which one we wanted and fell in love with the smallest and quietest one there, who was also the most frightened. we then headed off inside the derelict pub to sign a puppy pledge and have a lecture on how we should feed the dog only raw meat and vitamins. we asked to see the parents to which the reply was along the lines of, 'there not here there working dogs on a farm a few miles away and that he had only had them as a favor to his mate, also said he did not under any circumstances breed dogs.' being trusting people we are... we believed him paid the £220 for the puppy and began the drive back home with our new baby! she was very quiet little puppy bit an incredibly fast learner she did not poo for four days and did not bark for about a week. very loving little puppy however we did notice she preferred females loads better than men, to which we know she had very little if any contact with females. on Saturday the 9th of July we lost little Skye to what we thought was slug pellets, however her symptoms were not the norm for a dog that has been poisoned. She was running round with our two other dogs wanting to play with what looked like a dog with Parkinson’s, we realized she was fitting and drove her strait to the vets she was very VERY hyper and was not sick or even attempted to be sick and was still looking for you to play with her. Unfortunately she took a turn for the worst and the kindest decision was to have her put to sleep. When i spoke to the vets initially we thought she had eaten a fair few pellets, but once the panic had gone and we looked properly she only had very few, it makes you wonder if she had any at all, but that is what we are putting it down to and the vets agreed it was most likely. as you can imagine we are very distraught, we love and miss little Skye more than you could imagine we could.
Last year me and my partner decided to buy our first dog. We found an advert on an internet site for a little westie. We called Cremdella kennels in Suffolk and arranged to view the little puppy. We travelled the long journey to Suffolk and it brought us to Willow Park travellers site in Becks Row, Suffolk.
The kennel owners seemed ok and I was pleased the dog came with a full vet check and was licenced by the local council, so we handed our money over and we took home Buster, my little westie.
When we got home we noticed Buster had terrible diahorrea. I called the vets and they suggested rice and chicken diet. This did not work, so I took Buster to the vets with a faecal sample. The vets started Buster on anti-biotics and sent the sample away for testing. The sample came back as poor Buster having Ecoli poisoning. Buster had also had to start on a stronger set of anti-biotics. My friends daughter had been handling the puppy and came down with classic signs of Ecoli poisoning. The doctor suggested that the little girl be tested for Ecoli. My heart sank. Luckily the little girl was Ecoli clear. But I was told we had all been very lucky.
Buster started to have some strange behaviour and one day Buster snapped at me. I also noticed Buster was excessively chasing his tail. I went to look at my friends puppy and realised there was something wrong with Buster. I was also sick of people stopping me in the street questioning me if Buster was old enough to be out for a walk. I went home and immediately booked an appointment at the vets.
I took Buster to the vets and asked the vet to confirm Buster age and give my little dog an MOT. My vet confirmed my little dog was 2 weeks younger than the vaccine card stated and what the kennels had sold him to me as, by looking at the dogs teeth. My vet started to get worried as he noticed that one of Busters pupils would not dilate. This means there is pressure on the brain and was causing him to tail chase and be aggressive. The vets book Buster in for an MRI scan. There were other physical signs on Buster that it was possible Busters parents were interbreed.
The next day, Buster was playing in the garden and had an enormous burst of energy. After 5 minutes of running around, I noticed my little dog was having problems walking and kept failing side ways and seemed disorientated. I went and called Buster and he fell on his side and started to have a seizure. I called my vet as the seizure was happening and he explained to me that he had spoken with the neurologist who he was due to see and he believed that Buster could have Hydrocephalus. Because of the puppies age, the prognoises was grave and the best thing I could do is put the little dog to sleep. After the seizure, Buster back leg kept giving up. I had my little dog only 4 weeks and there I was taking him to be put to sleep. It broke mine and my partners heart.
If you want to buy a puppy, please dont buy from these kind of establishments. I am about £1000 out of pocket but dont regret a penny. I know i did the right thing for Buster. We miss him everyday. What is left of poor little Buster is in the picture above.
I ended up rescuing a cavalier from an owner who had got her from a puppy farm and this pup became the fall out from the original owner who had tumbled into the trap of buying a pup from an advert, that pup was shipped from Wales to Kent where this buyer purchased her, in ignorance and good faith.
The lady paid 500.00 but the dog was very quickly taken ill with stomach problems, sickness, diahorrea, skin itching and redness problems, resulting in numerous and expensive trips to the vets trying to find the cause of these health problems. Every type of commercial food was tried, nothing changed and the dog, who had never bonded with the owner, developed behavioural problems, disassociated herself with her owner, growled when pick up, she was 12 weeks.
The stools and skin scrapings were sent to the Royal Vet Collage in London,more expense, time, worry and procedures for the puppy to endure.
I first looked after the pup at that time, 12 weeks of age, as the owner, who was rather at the end of her tether said she needed a break from all the worry and couldn't cope with this pup that she had waited for for so long who just didn't want to be with her. The dog used to hide in the garden not wishing to come into the house.
The pup mixed in with my 4 dogs, (I dog sit at mine for a living so they were used to other dogs coming and going.) and stayed for a week. I left her to her own devices and she seemed to come round a bit but had dreadful stomach and sickness problems, scratched all the time and was going bald in some places with the constant scratching so on her return to the vets it was more steroid injections etc and so it went on.
At 15 weeks the owner said she wanted rid, so I tried several times to rehome her but there was always something that wasn't quite right, too big, too small, wrong sex etc. people sometimes want the 'perfect' pup, good job they are not like that with their children, orphanages would be overflowing!
By this time I was beginning to bond with the pup and she would stay on me the whole time we were together, never searching out her owner nor wanting to go off with them. I ended up in tears and said I couldn't do this any more, couldn't afford the 500.00 so the owner went off for what I thought was the last time, with the pup.
Next day I got a phone call, would I take her, gift, she couldn't cope any more and was even thinking of having her put to sleep, she would never be any good as a dog, sickly all her life, blah, blah, blah.
Of course I took the dog, scrapped up 200.00 as that was my way of saying that was all I could find but I then at least I felt as if she was really mine. The owner informed the vet who phoned me 3 days later to say that he was really concerned about this little bundle of trouble I had taken on with all the health problems, could I afford it etc.
By then I had put her on to a raw food diet, grated carrot and brown boiled rice, Bach Flower Remedies in her drinking water, left her alone to just be a dog and find her level in my pack, which includes 5 cats, she slept upstairs in her bed with me, hubby and 3 other dogs, newspaper every where and I mean everywhere...
Her stomach problems quite quickly came under control and then we added mixer, raw veg. meaty bones, all went well. The skin probs took longer to clear but eventually with lots of tlc, herbal creams and good natural food, she got better.
she is now 2 years old, has only cost me for herbs, spaying and a recent urine infection. I do watch her diet and keep her away from parks as she seems to pick up infections very easily so her immune system is not good .
The lack of bonding and disassociation sorted itself out, she comes to my training classes with me now as a model but will still stress sometimes, when out in different situations or if she has to stay with someone else, which is rare, so I have keep an eye on her. The growling turned out to be just a verbal thing that she does if you cuddle her a little too tightly, we now just make it into a game and she has never taken it too far, she is wonderful with my grandchildren and a beautiful girl who is always at my side, but never worries when I go out, always confident that I will return.
These problems were all the result of being bred in a puppy farm, not socialised, fed badly and then handed over to a novice owner. All they wanted was the money.
Poppy was a nervous wreck when we first met her. We couldn't make any sudden movements around her and she absolutely terrified of a collar and lead.
She wouldn't eat from a bowl and had to be hand fed, and wouldn't eat around anyone other than me. If she thought another dog was around there was no hope of getting her to eat.
She smelt terrible. We had planned to leave her a while to settle before bathing her, but after 24 hours of her being at home, we decided we had to try a gentle bath. We tried to coax her upstairs with roast chicken, but it was all too scary. But eventually she followed Cassie upstairs and we very gently managed to give her a bit of a bath. I vividly remember about 10 mins after her bath, a little brown nose peaked round the bathroom door carrying an empty biscuit wrapper. That was the first sign of cheekyness and over the following months there was plenty more.
It took quite a while for us to realise that Poppy has lost most of her hearing, probably due to untreated ear infections in the past. But she's a bright cookie and had learned commands with hand signals and can hear a whistle ( when she wants to!).
Her tail now wags constantly, but there is the occasional reminder of her past. She sometimes still jumps and runs away with any sudden movements, but not often now. The hatred of her collar and lead is now complete excitement at impending walkies... a difference that I can't really put into words.
She still has no idea what to do with toys. I don't think she ever had the play experiences that most dogs get to enjoy as puppies.
The amazing thing for us was that Cassie took to Poppy instantly. They were immediately best friends and it was just amazing to see.
We have seen dramatic changes in both girls, both physically (their coats have gone from being fairly horrid to gorgeous) and behaviourly. They both had little muscle having not been exercised, and had had none of the doggy experiences that most dogs take for granted.
They are gorgeous, wonderful angels. Possibly slightly spoilt... but we have an awful lot of making up to do!!
Poppy was a nervous wreck when we first met her. We couldn't make any sudden movements around her and she absolutely terrified of a collar and lead.
At the time this photo was taken, a little over a year ago, she was about 4 years old and had recently been rescued from a puppy farm in Wales.
As far as we know she had spent all her life, in confinement, being forced to produce litter after litter. Her coat was a mess and her undercarriage was incredibly saggy.
A year on and Cassie is a lovely, waggy tailed, happy girl. She has experienced all the simple things that dogs should enjoy, and loves her walks. She had so many first experiences, for example, the first time she went for a walk on the beach, for a swim, saw cows! She is at her absolute happiest curled up on the sofa, having a cuddle.
This is Cassie now
Despite her physical transformation, the lasting effects of lack of socialistion and confinement are still present. She is very unsure of dogs she doesn’t know, although we are working on this and she is improving and gaining confidence.
Cassie is an absolute angel, and it is heart wrenching to think of her past. However, she is one of the lucky ones.