A RESCUE dog who self-harms due to a rare syndrome has given a special canine thanks to a Tarvin vet for a big cash boost to the charity which has saved him.
Loveable Tri-colour Cocker Spaniel George has Acral Mutilation Syndrome where he chews his hind paws, drawing blood, and at one point, even nibbling away part of a toe and exposing the bone.
He is being loved and looked after in a foster home provided by the Cocker and English Springer Spaniel Rescue (CAESSR) and his ongoing specialist treatment has cost the cause close to £10,000 in the past two years. His foster Mum has changed her career so she can be around more to care for him.
The founders of the charity and George’s foster mum took him to meet Senior Small Animal Vet Richard Nolan of Manor Court Veterinary Centre in Church Street, to receive an £800 donation from Willows Veterinary Group which owns the surgery in the centre of Tarvin.
The independently-owned veterinary group, has a network of 25 small animal surgeries, a referral veterinary hospital, two equine centres and a seven-office farm practice located across Cheshire and into the Wirral, North Wales and Staffordshire.
Richard put forward the cause on behalf of his surgery at the Group’s Christmas party where nominated animal charities were put into a hat and two were drawn out to receive half each of the £1,600 charitable donations raised. The other £800 went to Clwyd Special Riding Centre in North Wales.
Richard said: “I have known Di and Ian Harrison of CAESSR for most of the 30 years I’ve been at this practice and have looked after their own personal pet spaniels.
“I know of the tremendous work they do with the rescue which is why I put CAESSR forward at the Christmas party.
He added: “Although I’ve never treated him myself, I’ve heard George’s story.
“It’s a very unusual case as Acral Mutilation Syndrome is a vicious circle which starts with itching and ends up with an animal chewing its own extremities.
“I’m aware that the treatment George has been having is very expensive so I’m hoping that our donation will make some contribution towards that.”
Di and Ian Harrison of Duddon, near Tarporley, founded CAESSR in 2010 along with John and Pat Powell from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire where the charity has its main kennels. Sadly, Pat lost her battle with cancer a year ago and volunteer Lisa Guthrie now looks after the charity finances. CAESSR now has a network of volunteers all over the UK.
Di said: “The donation we received from Manor Court is very welcome and I can’t thank them enough for it as we rely entirely on donations to keep going.
She added: “George, who is now around three, came to us in March 2015 as a 10-month-old show type Cocker.
“He was chewing his hind paws and drawing blood – even when his owners were in the home. He had almost eaten away part of one of his toes.
“It was thought he was suffering pins and needles in his feet owing to a slight deformity on his spine. The chewing then became a habit.
“After months of constant bandaging, George is now in a permanent foster home having had behaviorist help and many trips to the vet.
“In over 30 years of looking after animals I’ve never seen anything like this before.
“At first we thought it was due to stress but after one of the founders John read an article in a dog magazine, we suspected that it might be Acral Mutilation Syndrome, which was later confirmed when samples were sent to a laboratory in France.
“But he’s such a lovely and friendly dog we wanted to persevere with his treatment.
“Apart from the self-harm he’s also had lots of other health problems but he’s a real fighter and has come through everything so far.”
For the past two years George has been fostered by dog lover Laura Herbert at her home in Hanley, Stoke on Trent.
And she says that looking after him has forced her to make drastic changes in her lifestyle.
“At the time I first started fostering him I’d just been made redundant and had plenty of time to spare for him,” she said.
“Since then I’ve had a full-time job in construction management but I soon discovered that he has so many health problems, including the self-harm syndrome, that I couldn’t keep on doing it, so I gave it up and now work part-time as a barmaid.
“The same is the case for my housemate, Matthew Rogers, who gave up his job as an office manager and now works in a factory. He didn’t even like dogs but now he’d do anything for George.
“We’ve now worked out our work patterns so we can spend as much time as possible with George and we’re also helped by a rota of friends and family.
“He’s relatively okay at the moment with all the medication and other treatment he’s having but if he’s left to his own devices we know he’d start chewing at himself again.”
Laura added: “People think I’m mad for what I do for George but he’s such a lovely natured, adorable dog you just can’t help yourself wanting to care for him.
“We’ve started to call him an emotional terrorist because just when you think he’s in his last few days he just bounces back and is fine again.
“All his treatment has cost CAESSR many thousands of pounds in treatment costs and he even has to have special food which is another £60 a month, so the donation from Manor Court is very welcome.”
To find out more about CAESSR go to www.caessr.org.uk