actually advised against writing Danny’s story, but I am
going to do it nonetheless.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
a message on the e-group updating everyone with Danny’s
progress. I think the pictures said it all. Danny was very poorly.
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 …………………………….
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.
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!
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.
we took him out to the kennel wrapped in a blanket and laid him
on the armchair in kennel no. 1.
of us slept well. I booked the day off work, I just couldn’t
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.
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.
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
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.
JOIN THE FRIENDS TODAY
And make a difference
to the destitute members of our beloved breed.
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.