The Ark Rescue & Rehoming Centre, Ashbourne, Derbyshire
This is the story of Millie the Border Collie X ....a 'tail' with a sad beginning but a very happy (or should it be waggie) ending! Millie arrived at The Ark weighing 36 kilos! She could barely stand and certainly couldn't walk. Her weight, combined with very long, overgrown nails, meant she couldn't put her paws down properly and she was in a lot of pain from an untreated ruptured cruciate ligament. In addition she had cataracts in both eyes and therefore couldn't see where she was or where all the other dogs were that she could hear barking. This was very frightening for her as, of course, she also didn't recognise any of our voices. She was covered in sores and generally was a very, very sad and sorry sight. Staff members Dan and Amy had to carry her into a pen and then clip her nails so that she could at least stand. We started treating her sores with soothing ointments and put her on medication for the pain from her leg. Millie had been kept shut inside by her previous owners and not walked, although all too obviously she was certainly not starved!! We put her on a strict diet and gradually she started to lose a little weight, but it was slow progress as she could not take any exercise. All she could manage was to walk very slowly out of her pen a few yards onto the front grass of The Ark! However, we noticed that she did enjoy sitting on the grass and being out in the fresh air, feeling the sunshine on her face....something she had not had for a long time. After three months with us, Millie's weight is down to 27.5 kg so she will soon be able to have an operation on her cruciate ligament, hopefully making it much more comfortable for her to move about. It might even be possible to operate in the future on Millie's cataracts!
Now for the 'waggie' ending! Happily there is good news about Millie. Our Chairman Peter and wife Daphne (our Dog Rehoming Officer) have adopted Millie and taken her home. They have been getting to know her over the weeks as, whilst she obviously can't see anyone, she does recognise familiar voices and scents. They are very experienced dog owners, having had several dogs from us over the years, all now sadly passed away. They are happy to care for Millie and can offer her a very safe and loving environment for the rest of her days. We like to think that we have managed to perform a small miracle for Millie by changing her sad life into a happy one.
A word from Millie...."I've been in my new home a week and there are lots of new things to get used to. I had my first "proper" walk in the field today and had loads of interesting sniffs. There were some woolly things called sheep which I'm supposed to know about, being part Border Collie! I think I'm going to like it here!"
To all my friends at The Ark,
I have had a brilliant first seven months with my family and I wanted to tell you all about it…
I have made lots of new friends, both human and canine, but my best friend is Delilah another rescue dog and we love to wrestle and play fight. Delilah has a brother called Pirate who is a Dalmatian x Pointer from Spain and he is my other Best Friend, but we move too quickly to get any good photos to show you! We had lots of fun on the beach when we went to Norfolk. I’ve learnt to play with toys and sometimes I even manage to catch the Frisbee! My sister, Dee Dee, played with me in Norfolk, too, which was so cool because she doesn’t usually want to play!
Susanna and I love each other so much and spend nearly all our time together. It makes my tail wag when she tells me every day what a Good Boy I am. I am really obedient and do everything she asks me to. We have done lots of training and I can do everything for the Bronze, Silver and Gold Kennel Club tests and Susanna is so proud of me. I am so brave now and make friends with humans ..... even men! I am still scared of old men with sticks and flat caps and woof if they try to touch me but I am so much better than I was when I lived at The Ark and I’m working with Susanna to get even braver.
I am very good at herding and, when I get excited, I like to run around everyone in circles to keep them together. It makes Dee Dee very cross but I am a bit naughty because I do it anyway! Me and Susanna are hoping to do some sheepdog courses because I'd really love to be a proper sheepdog.
My favourite place in the world is Wollaton Park, but I call it “Mordor” because I get so excited getting ready to go that I say “Mordor” really loudly! We go out for a walk for hours and hours every day. We spend so much time there and it is great! I am so happy and I think me and my Susanna need each other. We are so grateful that my friends at The Ark looked after me and made it possible for me and Susanna to be family. Thank you.
Patch and Susanna
Hi....Just thought I'd let you know how I am as it is four months since I left you. My new family is very good. I have them trained to take me out walking three times a day in all weathers, as the rain does not worry me, but I think dad is not too happy in heavy rain. I have discovered how to open all the downstairs doors so have the run of the house, but I am not allowed upstairs... however, I am working on that. I have a nice big comfy bed which is put at the foot of the stairs at night so I can listen for the family rising in the morning. At first when we were all in the lounge I wasn't allowed to lie on the sofa, it was the floor for me. I didn't think that was fair, so I kept jumping up until they relented and put a blanket on the end of the sofa for me and that's my seat now. I am told to stay whenever anyone goes into the kitchen, well I do until I hear a cupboard or fridge door opening and then I'm there in a flash.. you never know.. someone could drop some food and I am only too willing to help clear it up. As for playing, I have new toys and especially enjoy the tug rope and, if dad won't play, I just keep dropping the rope on his knees and giving him a nudge. If that doesn't work, a couple of barks usually does the trick. I still do not like cats or other dogs and, if I could climb trees, I would soon give those squirrels a fright .... as it is they just run up the trees and sit there looking down at me. Oh here comes dad with the dog brush.... I'm off! Bye for now Angel
Editor's Note : Angel was one of our long stay Sponsor dogs and was a pupil at our Ark Academy..... which worked wonders! We are delighted to see her doing so well and so happy in her new family home.
Hello Barbara and all of my friends at The Ark,
Just thought I'd get in touch to let you know that I'm doing fantastically well and have settled into my new home brilliantly. It took me a week or two to get used to the change but now I enjoy playing with my new sister Poppy ...I'm also very affectionate (still on my terms though) and I love sleeping with mummy and Poppy on the bed. I'm enjoying lots of cuddles and even wake mum up in the night for a fuss! I have discovered that I like tummy and paw tickles ..who knew! I've been going outside for a while now with Poppy, who looks after me and makes me feel more secure (I'm a bit wary about venturing too far). I hope you haven't been missing me too much but I really am OK and loving all the attention.
Lots of love Sasha (formerly known as Shania) xxx
Editor's Note : Shania, one of our Sponsor Cats, took a long time - to gain confidence and relax...but just look at her now!
Dear All at The Ark,
We're writing to let you know how Buddy is doing and we don't think we are exaggerating when we say that Buddy is a one in a million dog! We can't believe how well he has settled in such a short time. He has learnt so much too. David walks him three or four miles most days which Buddy loves. The sight of his lead and harness is greeted with great excitement..of course he greets the settee with equal enthusiasm! In fact, we were about to buy a new settee but have decided to put this on hold for a while! He loves everyone and everything - he just loves life. He puts a spring in our step daily when we are greeted with his wonderful 'Staffy smile'! Thank you again for all your help when we first came to The Ark. We were so upset at the loss of our dog Jackson and never thought we would find a successor. We certainly have! Buddy is the total opposite in temperament and character, which is as it should be because you can never replace a dog. He is a breath of fresh air and isn't being spoiled.....well not much! Thank you again.
Editor's Note : Poor Buddy had several different owners before coming to The Ark and was with us for quite a time before finding his forever home.
Hi Polly here,
Bobbi has asked me to update you all about our life since leaving The Ark. At first we were very nervous as we were unsure where we were being taken...but how relieved we were to find we were staying together! Bobbi, being much braver than me, settled into our new home much faster and found that our new owners were fantastic at making a fuss and playing with her. I, however, found it much more preferable to watch from under the sofa!
Over the past weeks Bobbi has been helping me feel more confident around the house, even letting me have the better cat hammock on occasions! Seeing Bobbi getting lots of strokes has encouraged me to give it a go and I am enjoying it more and more every day. I have learnt how to join in playing…and have been running off a little of my extra weight following my favourite fluffy toy and carrying around my favourite toy 'Mr Mouse'. Me and Bobbi (and our humans) would like to say a big thank you to all the people who sponsored us whilst we were living at The Ark (almost a year!). We know that we were not always the easiest cats to look after, but with your help we have finally found our forever home!
Polly and Bobbi's new owners have this to add: " We have been thrilled with the progress these two have made.
Every week Polly is getting more comfortable with human contact and starting to purr when stroked. Bobbi settled in very quickly and, although a little bit jumpy with visitors, is a joy and gets up every morning when she hears the alarm to stand by our bedroom door to welcome us. We cannot praise your whole team enough for the work which you have done helping out these two cats. We feel very lucky to have them in our lives." Regards, Deborah and Nick
Editor's Note : Polly and Bobbi were Sponsor cats at The Ark and became friends whilst living in Roger's Room.
If I'm being totally honest, I was slightly apprehensive about adopting Tom... a very handsome 9 yr old black cat who had been at The Ark for almost a year. One of the reasons for this was that, at every Open Day, Tom would take himself out of the way of curious eyes and wouldn't reappear until all the visitors had gone! Another reason is that strange fact that black cats are not as popular! So yes, I was a little worried that Tom might have become somewhat 'institutionalised' due to being at The Ark for so long.
Well, I'm delighted to report that I needn't have worried. Talk about 'getting your paws under the table!' Within a couple of hours of arriving home, Tom was happily playing with one of his new toys - a catnip cockerel - and a week later he just hasn't put a paw wrong! He has discovered the delights of the log burner and of batting my seashell collection around the floor - usually at first light! However, his chief pleasure (apart from LOTS of fuss) is a duvet day - that's to say, all day, under Mum's duvet!
I am absolutely delighted with 'Mr' Tom. It speaks volumes for the love and care given to ALL residents at The Ark when even long stay cases such as my beautiful cat can make such laid - back, loving companions. It took a while, but Tom has now found his Forever Home - thanks to Ashbourne Animal Welfare - and me ..... well, I have found my new Best Friend For Ever.
Ali Dare xxxxx
P.S. As I type this , Tom is on my shoulder, no doubt approving every word!
Just to let you know Sam has settled into his forever home very well. He is such a little sweetheart and we love him very much. He loves his walks with us as we do a lot of walking. Sam goes everywhere with us, even to work. He has many fans who now come into our Motorcycle shop in Leek just to see him!
Yvonne, Dave and Sam