Meet the lifers and long stay dogs

Joined: 9:24 PM - Apr 25, 2005

8:16 PM - Feb 20, 2015 #1


Over the years we have taken in a few dogs with aggressive behavior, some have been turned around and successfully re-homed. Others unfortunately have not responded quite so well to training and will almost certainly stay here for life.

RALPH - Golden Retriever

Ralph is here because over his last couple of years at home he had bitten most members of his family a number of times. Despite lots of work and training, as well as numerous visits to vets and behaviourists his family were unable to find a solution. Faced with making the final heartbreaking decision to put him to sleep they phoned us. We agreed to take Ralph in here where he could live out his time without being a danger to anyone. Initially Ralph behaved well here but over time both of us have experienced the behaviour that caused his family such problems. We are now extremely careful to avoid situations that could provoke these issues. Ralph is kennelled on his own but he is a dog that has always preferred his own company and needed his own space. He runs loose in our paddock three times a day with a couple of playmates and is very contented - unless we get a thunderstorm!!!

He has been here about 9 years now and would be about 13 y/o.

IGOR, wire haired terrier.

Mar 2 2012, two older gentlemen turned up at the gates with a small dog asking if we could take him in. The owner had been in poor health and had a stay in hospital during which time the dog had been in boarding kennels. The gentleman had since been moved out of his flat and was staying in accommodation which didn't allow pets and was awaiting transfer to a "care home" which would also not allow dogs. The boarding kennels had told him the dog needed to be moved and as he had nowhere for him to go he was booked into the vets for PTS. When the gentleman collected his dog from the kennels for his last trip to the vets, the kennels suggested he tried us first, hence them turning up here.

We explained that we only had our outside kennels available but the owner was sure that it was better than the alternative so he went off to collect the paperwork etc and Igor was settled into his new accommodation. He is a typical lively terrier and can be VERY snappy if caught unawares. He also guards a bone but other than that he seems very sweet. He was neutered and seems very happy here.

Sadly his owner died soon after so Igor will probably spend the rest of his days with us, he needs very careful handling or you will feel his teeth.

BRAMBLE - Golden Retriever x Labrador
We were contacted about Bramble when all other training avenues had failed and I did go out to observe for myself her behaviours with dogs and people out and about, a very aggressive but well trained young lady. I had no intention of doing any work with her but she made the mistake of trying to attack my stooge dog and from an angle that just begged intervention, since that event she believes me to be God.

We parted company and a few days later we took a call to say that she had killed a kitten in the home and she came to PFK rather than the vets :cry:

I worked with her and she improved with both dogs and people and then came another turning point when I introduced her to a big male Weim who she thought was Mr Wonderful and they have lived together happily until he died..

She is a very special girl and although the PFK magic has turned her around she will not be re-homed, she is happy here and safe and greatly loved.

Last edited by Poplar Farm on 11:15 AM - Feb 21, 2015, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 9:24 PM - Apr 25, 2005

8:18 PM - Feb 20, 2015 #2

Meet the oldies and nervous dogs that have settled here............

. . Houdi's story is quite long but for those who are interested, read on.

Houdi's Story - part 1 November 2004

A few weeks ago we got a phone call from the nurse at our vets. There had been a Saluki Lurcher brought in to one of the Group's surgery's as an emergency the night before and she wondered if we could help with him. Houdi was found at the side of the road by the tip in Peterborough with a badly shattered front leg. Both ends of the bone were poking through the skin and he also had a large open wound on his wrist where he had been walking on the joint due to lack of feeling and use in the leg. The local large rescues had advised to put Houdi to sleep or at best amputate the leg but staff felt that in such an attractive, young and otherwise healthy dog that it would be better to try and save the leg if possible……………..that’s where we came in.

We agreed to take on responsibility for the dog and also for the vets bills so that they could try and save the leg. Houdi spent the next five days on a drip being given fluids and antibiotics to try and control the massive infection that had got into the wound. Also due to the high degree of swelling it was difficult to tell whether or not there was still any feeling in the leg. We reluctantly agreed that the vets would amputate if they felt there was no other choice but on day five (Tuesday) the vets felt that the infection and swelling had gone down enough to be sure that there was still blood supply and feeling to the leg so they went ahead with an operation to plate the fracture.

Two surgeons and two nurses worked on the operation. As far as we know the surgeons are not charging for their time and one of the nurses even went into work in her own time to assist in the operation to help keep the costs down. Wednesday morning we got a call to say that the operation had gone well and things were looking fairly positive. Houdi remained in the vets for another week as he was initially having daily dressing changes done under sedation. By the following week though, he was on dressings every other day and without sedation so we got a call to say we could pick him up and bring him here.

This was the first time I had seen this dog and he was GORGEOUS. He was also very subdued and wary of things but he was also amazingly placid and gentle. Two days later I took him for his bandage change and got my first sight of the leg. Houdi was, and still is, absolutely amazing with his dressing changes. He is lifted on to the table and he just lies there and doesn’t move whilst the old bandages are cut away. The dressing always sticks a little to the open wounds but he never moves or flinches, just lies there until the new dressing is finished and then waits patiently to be lifted off the table.

Not content with all this drama and attention, Houdi decided the next weekend to worry us even more. On Saturday he vomited up a large piece of cloth which had obviously been in his stomach for some time. We thought that was the end of that but he continued to vomit bile all through the day and he refused both food and water and seemed a little under the weather. I rung the vet nurse for advice and continued to try to get him to take fluids. Sunday morning he was still not eating or drinking so I took him to the vets who gave him a thorough check over and an injection to stop the vomiting. They also changed his antibiotics and gave him some other tablets to help settle his stomach. By Monday morning he was still not eating or drinking so when he went for his bandage change he was sent over to the other branch surgery for x-rays. There was nothing showing on them so it was felt that his problem was just severe irritation to the throat due to the size of the object he vomited. Finally Monday evening he started drinking and by Tuesday morning he was eating again.

We have now had two weeks of dressing changes three times a week but today I got the good news that we may only have to have a couple more before we can leave the leg open to the air. Obviously he will still have to be on restricted exercise for the next couple of months until the pin is removed but hopefully he will eventually be sound and at least he will still have four legs.

I would just like to finish by saying a big THANK YOU to the vets and staff at All Creatures vets at Chatteris and March and to Vetsavers at Wisbech (all part of the same group) for all their help with Houdi. For calling us to give him a chance and for helping to keep the costs of all this down as much as possible. We have not yet had the bill for any of this work and it wont be cheap, although they are helping as much as they can, but when you look into
a pair of the most wonderful deep brown eyes and stroke the velvet ears then, whatever the cost, its got to be worth it.

Last edited by Poplar Farm on 8:54 PM - Feb 20, 2015, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 9:24 PM - Apr 25, 2005

8:38 PM - Feb 20, 2015 #3

Houdi's Story - Part 2

Houdi Again 10th January 2005
It appears that being headline news in our last newsletter went to Houdi’s head as he decided to make sure he featured in this issue as well. The day after the last letter went out I went to take Houdi for his morning walk and to my horror discovered that overnight he had attacked his bandage. Now up to this point he had never touched it but on this occasion he had bitten right through down to the skin over the operation site and made a large hole in the dressing and had also removed a few of the stitches. The leg was angry and swollen so I immediately phoned the vets but they had already started the days operations so I made an emergency appointment for early afternoon. I got Houdi out and had another look at his leg, it was swelling quite badly in the hole so we felt the only option was to remove the whole dressing to relieve the pressure. Dave and I spent the next two and a half hours taking it in turns to stay with Houdi to make sure he didn’t do any more damage to the leg, whilst we tried to complete the rest of the routine kennel duties. I was outside the vets well before my appointment time but they took me straight in.

The vet examined Houdi’s leg and was not happy. She felt that there must have been a reason for him to attack the dressing and she was concerned that there was infection in the bone at the fracture site and she felt that immediate x-rays were needed to see what was going on. Our branch vet does not have x-ray facilities so I put Houdi in the car for the 20 minute drive to the March surgery. There Houdi was x-rayed. He was his usual perfectly behaved self, no sedation needed although they did get me to stand with him to keep him still. The x-rays were developed and were seen by the duty vet. He was very concerned as he felt that the break was not healing, he was talking about specialists and amputation. I was devastated and asked to see the vet who did the surgery immediately. They phoned through to his branch and he agreed to see me as soon as I could get over there so I popped Houdi back in the car, picked up the x-rays and drove straight over. I was in tears most of the way but was trying to keep calm.

Once at Wisbech I was taken through to see the vet as soon as he had looked at the x-rays. He immediately put my mind at rest as he was, in fact, pleased with the leg’s progress. He felt that the problem had been caused by an infection starting in the bone and prescribed long-term antibiotic treatment and x-rays in January to check progress and decide when the plate could be removed.

Hopefully by the time of the next news letter we will have news on the next stage of his treatment but in the meantime the bills have started to arrive which has forced us to put out an appeal . Houdi remains oblivious to all the fuss and the only thing he wants to know is……………………"when can I get off this stupid lead and go for a run??"

Below are some pictures that were taken by the vet when he was taken in by a member of the public - they are not very pretty but it does help to understand just how far this lad has come since the early days.


Joined: 9:24 PM - Apr 25, 2005

8:41 PM - Feb 20, 2015 #4

Houdi's Story - part 3 2009

Although it took a lot of time and care, Houdi did recover well from his injuries and he mixes with the other dogs brilliantly as the photo's below show. However he has always been petrified of new people and would shun away from visitors and once spooked he would often be hard to catch, this behaviour convinced us that he must stay here for life within the shelter and security of our boundary fences.

Our next step was to integrate him into my pack so that he has more freedom, company and close human contact 24/7. He is very happy with that and has lost some of his fear of strangers as time has passed. Now a visitor to the house will sometimes be rewarded by his head on their lap and outside he always responds to my command to return.

The vets did an amazing job and Houdi is probably the fastest dog at PFK, his legs seem to be all over the place but he can certainly shift and has never come to grief playing with the other dogs here.


Joined: 9:24 PM - Apr 25, 2005

8:46 PM - Feb 20, 2015 #5

Houdi's Story Part 4 - Update July 2010

Houdi remains sound on his "bad" leg and loves nothing more than a good blast round the paddock with anyone who will join in but there does seem to be one other legacy from his past that we cant get on top of.

Ever since the vomiting of the cloth incident when he first arrived, Houdi continues to have occasional spells of vomiting without reason. The problem is that they are pretty unpleasant as after the first couple of times he will continue vomiting blood and froth for an hour or so afterwards. The vets have diagnosed it as ulcers and we have liquid meds to give him at the first sign of an attack. The problem is that it is so rapid that the meds dont have time to work before it gets bad so we may need to look at continuous treatment if the attacks get any more frequent.

Houdi is with our pack so I feed him twice each day and for some time now he has just had mashed Naturediet with a little water added to make a soft paste. I do believe that he finds that easier on his tum and easier for us too since we don't get piles of undigested food regurgitated :barf:

Yesterdays event was without any change or warning but passed in a couple of hours and he only missed one meal. He is a little better with strangers too and seems to quite like Stephanie, two years ago and he would have freaked :o

Joined: 9:24 PM - Apr 25, 2005

4:17 PM - Feb 15, 2016 #6

Annie and Katie are Hamiltonstovare sisters born in 2004 who are looking for a new home for their remaining time ideally together but we would rehome separately to the right home and preferably to homes with another dog for company.

Both girls are very sweet, friendly and affectionate (Annie slightly more so than Katie). They are house trained and know a range of basic commands. Annie and Katie both walk nicely on lead but, as you would expect from their breed, have absolutely no recall so cannot be off lead except in a very secure area. They also require a home with a good secure garden.

Annie does have some skin issues relating to food sensitivity so requires a gluten free diet and both girls have some age related lumps and bumps although Annie has just successfully had two lumps removed.

Annie and Katie are both neutered and microchipped.



Last edited by Poplar Farm on 4:18 PM - Feb 15, 2016, edited 1 time in total.