Meet Winnie. She’s a cutie with a prize-winning sniffer. And though she’s just a few years old, she’s already an active K9 Scent and Search UK member and competes in scent work competitions across the country. To look at this beautiful and athletic American bulldog, you’d never know that she once struggled to walk on all four paws.
In July 2019, Winnie arrived at the RSPCA’s Essex South and Southend, unable to stand on her severely bent front legs. She was only nine weeks old and in need of help. But Winnie was in the right hands, and soon became a pup on the mend.
Bent But Not Broken
At five weeks old, Winnie had found a home, but her owners struggled to cope with her care. Knowing this puppy needed more help than they could give, they signed Winnie over to the RSPCA, where these dedicated dog lovers jumped into action to help the sweet puppy.
As the RSPCA’s Kathy Butler explained, “When Winnie came to us, both front legs bent at the knee, and her legs would buckle under her weight leading to her collapsing.”
Examination and X-rays revealed what the RSPCA explained as a “developmental disease of the carpus (wrist) – when the ligaments or tendons form abnormally and cannot support the joint.”
Specialists devised a treatment plan, and the RSPCA started therapy right away as they searched for a foster home where Wonky Winnie could work on her therapy and enjoy a happy puppy life. And that’s when foster mom Wendy Linge from Essex entered Winnie’s life. And by Winnie’s side, Wendy would always remain, even if that wasn’t the original plan.
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Wendy’s dog had recently passed away and fostering felt like a fit, with Wendy explaining, “It felt like the perfect set-up at the perfect time. I wasn’t looking for another permanent dog, but fostering sounded ideal.”
But meeting Winnie changed everything, and she quickly became Wendy’s adorable foster fail.
“I couldn’t have wished for a better dog to join our family. It just goes to show that sometimes, when you least expect it, the dog you need comes along.”
Together, Winnie and Wendy pushed through rehabilitation with daily physiotherapy and twice weekly hydrotherapy sessions at Completely K9 Hydrotherapy and Rehabilitation.
“After every treatment, she was more upright on her feet. Now she’s back on all four paws,” said Wendy.
Soon, Winnie’s wonkiness faded away, leaving her strong, fit, and ready to tackle any challenge that came her way.
“There’s no stopping Winnie now. We joined K9 Scent and Search UK and Winnie now enjoys taking part in scentwork trials all over the country.”
“She’s working through the different levels of training, currently on level five of eight, and she absolutely loves the sport.”
A Good Girl
While Winnie had to overcome the severe bend in her front legs, her personality was golden from day one. She’s friendly and playful, always meeting new friends and winning hearts. And though she and Wendy may not have known it at the start, Winnie had already found her forever home with Wendy.
“When Winnie arrived, she was a bouncy, sweet puppy but was very disabled. To look at Winnie today is unbelievable, her transformation has been amazing.”
Wonky Winnie had an unsure start to life, but with love and support, she’s another amazing example of the magic rescue and adoption bring to canine lives. Here’s to a beautiful life, Winnie!
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Feature Image: RSPCA Essex South and Southend/Facebook