In the years we have been in animal welfare we have seen some truly horrendous things, and it takes a lot to shock us. These two sweet dogs were being taken care of by kind neighbours whilst their owner was in hospital, but as the neighbours couldn’t take them into their own home, they were spending most of their time in the house alone. Their owner passed away, and without family or anyone to look after them, Ebony and Benny were brought into us, and seeing their condition we rushed them to the vets straight away.
There is no dressing this up, these dogs have been neglected for years. At 16 years old, just seeing Ebony makes you flinch, knowing the state of pain that had become her normal. She was placed on pain medication immediately, and the catalogue of ailments between them seemed to grow with every hour. Thankfully Benny is seven, and even at 46kg he has true Border Collie joy and a longing to play and explore. In the last few days he has thrived here, loving all the walks and enrichment we provide.
They are both morbidly obese at almost twice the weight they should be, and whilst Benny is desperate to be a fit and active dog, Ebony cannot get up unassisted. She had clearly spent most of her days splayed out on the floor, her eyes nervously darting around, though she only had vision in one of them.
It is clear their conditions have been worsening for years, and most of their health issues are a direct result of their obesity. They have calluses from bearing the pressure of their weight whilst lying down, both have masses that need looking into, skin issues, pain in all their joints and overgrown nails.
On top of this, both dogs teeth and gums are in such an awful state and fetid with decay that it makes you wince. Ebony’s teeth were brown and some had already rotted and splintered, most of them reduced to brown stubs. Benny is likely to lose some of his back teeth, but thankfully his front teeth may only need a clean.
What is so desperately sad about these dogs is how long they had been suffering like this. From the vet history we have been able to obtain, both dogs have been taken to the vets semi-regularly, where the vet advised the owner multiple times that they desperately needed to lose weight. This is a desperately sad story to tell and we can only assume that due to grief and his own waning health, their owner did not realise he was killing them with kindness. We share Ebony and Benny’s story not only to help raise critical funds towards their medical treatment (which we anticipate to be thousands of pounds), but also to raise awareness that seeing a dog in this state should concern you. Although it doesn’t look like suffering in the way we so often see it, these two dogs are in chronic pain due to their overfeeding and inactivity, and recovery and rehabilitation is a long and uncertain road ahead.
When Ebony first arrived we knew that her condition was so awful that she might not make it, but we did what we always do, and gave her the chance she deserved. We hoped that she might improve on pain medication, but sadly, after two days here our worst fears were confirmed, that she had no quality of life to look forward to. She wasn’t able to move her body and so would toilet where she lay and sit in her urine and faeces until she could be cleaned. She had a grade six heart murmur and a mass around her heart, spending time with her you couldn’t help but break down in tears. We made sure her last hours were as comfortable as they could be, and she was given chicken and sausages; only soft and delicious treats for her sore mouth. She was held as she passed, she was told she was a good girl and she was put to sleep here at the Sanctuary. Afterwards Benny was brought in to see her, so he would understand and say goodbye. We hope she knew that we tried, and that we wish things had been different for her. Rest in peace sweet girl. We promise you that Benny will have the life that you both should have had.
Please give whatever you can to help us give the very best care we can to our rescues and wish Benny the best of luck on this long road ahead. We will keep you updated on his progress.