Caring for one disabled pet can be a challenge, so spare a thought for dedicated animal lovers Matthew Young and Christopher Young who have a house full of 15 sick and disabled dogs. The pair have given a home to the unwanted street dogs from all around the world, including 10 paraplegic dogs and one multiple amputee. All of the animals would otherwise have to be put down because of their complicated health problems.
It all started 10 years ago when Matthew was sent a video from Romania of a German shepherd called Leah, who was paraplegic after being hit by a car. “The minute I saw her, I wanted to help her. There was no doubt in my mind,” he said.
Matthew welcomed Leah into his home, and despite her being incontinent, he describes her as “the most beautiful dog in the world”. “Leah taught me everything I need to know about what a disabled dog needs,” he said “I had no plans to start a sanctuary but it went from there.”
Since Leah’s arrival, Matthew and Christopher have cared for 30 unwanted dogs, saving them from euthanasia and giving them a loving forever home. They nicknamed their home in Slough, Berkshire, The Dogs Nobody Wants Sanctuary, and Matthew says: “Every dog in our sanctuary has a home for their entire life.”
The 15 dogs currently in their care include Maffoo, who struggles with arthritis, paraplegic dogs Leah, Suzy, Temperance, Rory, Eye, DeeDee, Ash, Angel, Sam and Barnaby, Beine, who has a fear of people, and senior dog Ollie, 19, who is deaf and blind.
Christopher works as a NHS healthcare assistant, while Matthew stays home to look after their canine companions. He wakes up early to walk three or four dogs at a time, then comes back to bathe and feed them. Throughout the day, he will wash and dry their bedding and change incontinence pads around the house. “Contrary to what you’d think, it can be very peaceful here,” he said. “It’s organised but chaotic all at the same time.”
Dogs Trust expert Dr Rachel Casey answers your canine conundrums How can I keep my dog cool in hot weather?
We all want to have fun and head out with our dogs whatever the temperature, but sadly every year we hear of dogs getting in distress during periods of hot weather. As another hot spell hits, there are some simple things you can do to keep your dog safe from the sun.
Firstly, avoid walking or doing activities either indoors or outdoors at the hottest times of the day, so early morning or later in the evening is often best. Even then, make sure you take plenty of water with you when you go out. Tarmac can get very hot. Try the ‘five-second test’ – if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for paws. Consider using a pet-safe sun cream.
Never leave your dog in a vehicle on a warm day, not even with the window open. If you cannot avoid taking your dog out in the car on a hot day, even if travelling a short distance, avoid travelling during the hottest times of the day.
While at home, get your dog to lay on a cooling mat or wrap an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a tea towel for them. Use cold treats from the fridge for added moisture or make an ice lolly from pet-friendly ingredients.
If dogs are too hot and can’t reduce their body temperature by panting, they may develop heatstroke which can be fatal. If you spot the early signs of heatstroke which include panting, difficulty breathing, tiredness, less keen to play, drooling and vomiting, call your vet immediately.
A helicopter engineer who dismantled a car to rescue an injured eight-week-old kitten said there was “no way” he could have left it behind. The feline was trapped inside a parked VW Golf, and Adam Hughes had to remove the turbo charger, pipework and body panels to free her. The cat, nicknamed Fergie, was taken to a Cats Protection centre in Cornwall, and is now recovering from her ordeal with a foster family.
We really want to see your pets too, so send us your pics and tell us what makes your furry friend so special. Here’s Merlin, and owner Michelle Goodall says: “She rules our house and sleeps anywhere you don’t want her to. She’s not fat, it’s fluff apparently. To us she’s the moggie we rescued from a local cat care charity 12 years ago to be her servants.”