Dog Training and Dog Care advice from UK Professionals

‘Ben’ - A Rescue German Shepherd x Border Collie

Ben - German Shepherd x Border CollieIt was coming up to my daughters 14th birthday and I had promised her that she could have a dog. She had wanted a dog ever since she started secondary school but I had made a rule that she must first prove that she was fit to look after a pet. She stayed true to her word and over the year she had read practically everything there was to read about dogs. She had also volunteered to help at a local dog training class, where she had learned about the latest training methods and how to handle a dog. We had both decided to adopt a rescue dog and took ourselves off to a rescue shelter nearby. It was tragic to see so many dogs whom through no fault of their own had ended up in kennels desperate for a new home.

The receptionist asked us lots of questions about our lifestyles, (we were both outdoor people and loved walking) and surprised us by saying that she had the perfect dog for us. She went off for a while and came back holding this squirming bundle of fur which leapt off the floor and into our hearts. His name was Ben and he was a German Shepherd cross Collie and was six months old. He had been picked up off the streets in a city nearby and since no one had come to claim him he was to be re homed. Did we want him? You bet we did! We had to wait until the paperwork was in order and our home had been given the seal of approval. Then finally I received a phone call to say that I could pick Ben up. He had been vet checked, inoculated and neutered and had been given a clean bill of health. While the receptionist was filling in the final forms I took Ben for a wander round outside where he squatted to go to toilet. I noticed he had passed some blood and mentioned it to the receptionist. I was told that the dog had a slight infection and that I would be given some antibiotics to give him at home. Quite honestly I couldn’t wait to get Ben home and see my daughter’s reaction when she arrived home from school.

Bliss is the word to describe the look on her face, sheer bliss. It is funny how a dog can take over your heart so strongly that you can no longer imagine life without them. Ben was a perfect pet. He was clever, clean in the house, and a joy to walk with. One thing bothered me and that was that he still passed blood in his toilet despite having finished the course of antibiotics. I returned to the shelter to see the vet and was told there was nothing wrong. Ben started to deteriorate. He went off his food and started to lose weight.

He began to vomit up any food that I had managed to get him to eat. Again I saw the vet and was told that the dog was fine and I was pandering to him too much. “Just put the food down and he will eat when he is hungry,” I was told. But he didn’t eat and then it got so bad that he was even vomiting water. Ben had been with us six weeks by then and we loved him so very much. My daughter was worried but did not suspect that anything was seriously wrong. I was becoming more convinced that Ben was seriously ill. Instead of taking him to the shelter’s vet, I went to a local practise. The vet could not believe that Ben was in such a state and the other vet had done nothing. He took blood samples and was very concerned about Ben who by then was looking really poorly.

The vet rang me later in the week with the worst possible news. Our darling Ben had Parvo Virus and I was to take him back to the shelter’s vet immediately. Ben had lost so much weight but still seemed to want to play. The vet did more tests and examined Ben thoroughly. He agreed that the other vet’s diagnoses was right as he had made enquires and it seems that upon arriving at the shelter, Ben had been temporarily caged with another dog. Three days after that Ben had been given the Parvo vaccination. The other dog had died of Parvo Virus and the kennel staff had no records of Ben being together with the sick dog. Paperwork had been mislaid. When Ben had started passing blood his paperwork had recorded that he had received the vaccination so Parvo was not suspected. Instead they treated Ben for an infection, but he had contracted the virus before the vaccination had taken effect.

With no further ado Ben was put to sleep. We had no time to come to terms with the idea. One moment we were both holding him and the next he was gone. Needless to say that with him went our hearts. Only someone who has lost their friend can understand how we felt.

Ben - German Shepherd x Border CollieTime does heal and my daughter is now a young woman and has a dog of her own. Neither of us will forget Ben and I deeply believe that he came into our lives to bring us joy and in turn we gave him the love he needed before it was his time to leave this world. He was an immensely special dog and we will never forget him.


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