I was actually advised against writing Danny’s story, but I am going to do it nonetheless.

It is not a story about success you see, it is a story about failure, but I feel it carries a huge message and it’s a story that needs to be told.

It started with a call for help. A lady had been left to look after her son’s dogs as he had left to work in Scotland. Her son had bred his two dogs earlier in the year and had never found suitable homes for the puppies and she could not cope with the six dogs that were now running riot in his small terraced house. Apparently this lady was going to her son’s house twice a day to feed and care for the dogs.

We put a message on the E-Group, “Chauffeur required – Derbyshire area”. It didn’t take long before the phone rang. Bernard and Claire were the first of many phone calls offering to go and pick the pups up.

Pups as they arrivedThey set off straight away and were going to ring us when they reached the house. They arrived to find the pups living in what can only be described as squalid conditions. The house was dark and filthy. None of the pups had collars or leads, the house did not have a garden so it appeared that they were left to mess in the house. The pups were frightened while being loaded into the car, it is unlikely they had ever been out in daylight or fresh air.

Bernard and Claire rang us and asked if we could meet them, the pups had not been well in the car and they had not even reached the M6 yet. We set off from Waterside armed with various cleaning materials and met them at The Newby Bridge Hotel.

What a state, and I’m not just talking about the car. All 4 pups had mange, not the worst case we had ever seen but all of them would need treatment. One of the pups also had a large lump on his shoulder. On first inspection in the dark it looked like a bone deformity and one that possibly couldn’t be fixed. We transferred the pups into out car and cleaned Bernard’s car out the best we could. He would need to disinfect it properly in daylight before Alex, his dog, would be able to go in it as mange is very infectious.

At the vets The pups now known as A, B, C & D visited the vets the next day. It was confirmed they all had demodectic mange and their treatment would start as soon as they got home. Puppy D needed extra attention for his lump. Upon examination it became apparent that it wasn’t a bone deformity. They took a sample for tests so they could decide the best form of treatment.


First bathingIt was a case of ‘all hands on deck’. All 4 pups needed bathing in special shampoo, not an easy job for one person. Big Steve is usually at our house on a Tuesday anyway and was very quick to get stuck in and help. Dawn also came up for the day to give a hand. Dawn if you remember has experience of treating mange as she helped out a lot when ‘Posh and Becks’ were in Rescue.

By the end of the week all four pups were now loving every minute of running and playing in the garden here. They had become so loving and trusting of humans, they just wanted someone to care for them.

DannyThere was considerable improvement in the mange condition. Puppy D (who despite making a decision on the day they arrived not to give any of them names should anything go wrong) had become known as “Danny” and had been on strong antibiotics all week in the hope of some progress to his shoulder injury. We had found out that at some point his breeder had re-homed him to a friend of his and his children had been very rough with him and thrown him down some stairs which is why he had the shoulder problem. His breeder had taken him back off his friend as they were mistreating him but never actually took him to a vet to get checked out.

At the next vets visit on the Friday puppies A & C were declared fit for re-homing and a decision was made to operate on Danny’s lump. An appointment was made for Monday.

The two puppies who were well enough went to their new family on the Sunday and were re-named “Buddy & Becca”, their coats were now quite shiny and they were lively and full of fun.

Danny had his operation on the Monday. The vet said all had gone well and the lump was a huge blood clot type substance. Bob picked him up from the vets late afternoon and brought him home. I wasn’t prepared for how bad Danny looked. He had a drain tube in his wound and a bandage around his middle but he just looked really tired. The operation had hit him hard and we felt guilty just looking at him.

Danny after operationHe was still bleeding a lot from his drain tube. The crate that had been set up for him was of no use. He was too weak to get in and out so we set lots of blankets up for him on the sofa in our lounge. We were having to keep his mouth moist with water to stop him dehydrating and had the heating turned up high to keep him snug and warm whilst he recovered.

We put a message on the e-group updating everyone with Danny’s progress. I think the pictures said it all. Danny was very poorly.

It was around an hour after our posting about his progress that Danny took a turn for the worse. His breathing became very shallow and he seemed to have a heart attack and then ……………………………. Nothing.

Danny was not breathing, we tried to bring him back but his tiny body had had enough. Bob turned to me and said “he’s gone”.

We sat on the floor next to him in silence, our hands just reaching out to stroke him, hoping it would give him and possibly us some comfort. I have never felt such complete emptiness.

We sat with him for about an hour going through more emotions than I ever thought possible in such a short space of time. So much hurt. So much anger. So much guilt.
Why had we put him though it!

Danny was still on our sofa when we wrote our second message of the evening to the e-group. It was quite a short message but one of the hardest we have ever had to put on the group and probably one of the most heart crushing. We knew he couldn’t stay on the sofa overnight but I think we kept expecting him to look up at us with those beautiful brown eyes and that everything was going to be okay.

Eventually we took him out to the kennel wrapped in a blanket and laid him on the armchair in kennel no. 1.

Neither of us slept well. I booked the day off work, I just couldn’t face anyone.

Puppy B, now known as “Shanni” had an appointment at the vets first thing Tuesday morning, so we travelled into Barrow with her and ‘Danny’. John, our vet who had done the operation, couldn’t believe that Danny was no longer with us and asked if he could have a chat about it after we had got the other pup checked over.

He brought some books in on medical conditions. We needed answers to be able to combat all the other emotions we were going through. The only explanation for Danny’s severe blood loss that he could come up with was that he thought Danny was a Haemophiliac. We couldn’t have done anything and even if he had been in the surgery overnight the outcome would probably have been the same.

That information did give us some comfort. Danny didn’t pass away in a dark surgery, frightened and on his own. He was on our comfy sofa, with us by his side giving him more love than he had ever known before.

This story was started by telling you all that it was about failure and in some ways it was. But it also included three success stories. Buddy and Becca had already left and started their new lives. Shanni was given the all clear and went to her new family on that Tuesday afternoon after getting lots of extra cuddles from us. I’m sure she knew something was wrong and I’m not sure who the cuddle therapy helped more, her or us.

Shanni and Sally


And make a difference
to the destitute members of our beloved breed.

They may never be able to say your name,
but they’ll always know they had a Friend
who stepped in when all hope seemed to have gone.


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