Christmas is always a difficult time in rescue, despite the festivities we all enjoy, the dogs don't know any different and still require the same attention. With the team we have, we always get through it, making sure that the dogs get what they are used to, if not more. This year though it has been even tougher.
On the Saturday in between Christmas and New Year we had to say goodbye to a dog that can be described as nothing else but a SHAK Legend.
Arriving as a stray in appalling condition, Ged had a huge metal chain attached to a leather collar that was engrained into his body. The strange thing was that the collar wasn't around his neck, it was somehow across his shoulder and behind his front leg like a sash. You can imagine the stress and discomfort he was in, and he let me know by showing severe fear aggression. I knew it wasn't his fault, so after a few days it was clear I had to help him. Armed with extended wire cutters I fought against his resistance and cut the collar off. From that day on we never looked back.
This may all sound familiar to you, as such was the state he was in, the BBC show Inside Out featured him in a documentary about Staffys and dangerous dogs. Ged did a brilliant job standing for the dogs corner.
Of course, later on in his stay with us Ged moved into a kennel with our special little girl Eden, Lady later joined them. The 'aggressive' staffy suddenly had friends and one became three.
Earlier this year he fought against and survived a stomach torsion. Nobody thought he'd make it because of his age. Then over the last few weeks he became a bit wobbly on his backend. We put it down to arthritis and he was given medication that seemed to help.
On Saturday morning he wasn't well at all. The back leg was beginning to swell and he couldn't put pressure on it. My heart sunk, I have seem bone tumours display like this before and instantly rushed him to the vets.
Xrays confirmed my worst fears, the tumour had ate into the bone causing it to fracture in two places. We discussed amputation but the chances of the cancer not already having spread due to the size of the tumour was less than 4% according to the vet. Ged had become so old and frail with his health I honestly didnt think it was fair to put him through anymore. Plus it was doubtful whether he'd survive such major surgery after the last one.
I lost him whilst I held him in my arms. Something I never thought I'd be able to do when he arrived. He has given us all so much pleasure but also so much inspiration. He showed me that despite being so badly treated, he could trust again. I'd like to think that being here showed what love and a home is all about.
For anyone who hasn't seen the Inside Out piece, here it is.