We all love our pets and even though we are a family of 4 children with mum and dad both vets, we are no exception.
Ruff came into our lives when we were posted to Cyprus with the forces. He had been thrown out on the streets as an 8 week old puppy and left to fend for himself in a very hostile environment. It was a bitter winter in 2015 and he found by the local police and together with a number of other strays, was taken to the the camp that my husband was working for.
He had been left the night in a concrete kennel with a skinny little rescue dog that had thrown him out of the only basket that was there and forced him to sleep on the cold concrete. When I visited my husband, little Ruff was brought into his office with a warm heater and after a run around on the warn floor, he fell asleep in the blissful warmth of my lap. We couldn’t do anything but keep him!
Our children were delighted. The first night he came home, we opened the backdoor to let him out for a wee and he just went a curled up in a flat garden plant to go to sleep for the night! His life on the streets was forgotten quickly and he became our little darling pet!
He adapted to a move to Germany where we were posted to next where he experienced walking on grass for the first time (as the barren earth of Cyprus has no grass), and of course he adapted to snow and just loved it. His most favourite ‘job’ involved looking after our free range chickens. They had a unique relationship and one squawk and he would be out in a flash chasing any fox or cat intruders from his property. Sadly they have all died but Ruff will still go flying to the door if he hears the squawk of a chicken on TV!
In 2018, we noticed that he was losing fur and appeared lethargic. He lost his love for the activity course that our daughter did with him and he appeared depressed and had put on weight around his little barrel middle. Being vet owners, we decided to run a blood test on him. My husband collected the blood from his neck as I held his trusting head back on the sofa at home. We were very pleased when his results came back as positive for hypothyroidism – we now knew that there was something that could be done to help him.
Fast forward a year of medication (thyroxine tablets – same as humans would take) and Ruff is back to his happy self much to our relief as we couldn’t bear seeing him so depressed and lethargic. He has his energy back and at the end of 2018, my husband decided to use him for his Master’s exam in anaimal behaviour and teach Ruff a number of tricks.
I have never seen a vet more stressed about exams – my husband was worse than our children worrying about passing these exams. Every step of the way had to be videod
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