Never judge a book by its cover!

I ARRIVED at work one morning to be told about a pitiful old dog that had been brought in. He was in a terrible condition, underweight, depressed,
partly bald with a skin condition, a large growth on one of his hind legs and an open, oozing, bleeding ulcerated lump the size of half a grapefruit on his chest. The option of putting an animal to death is always a last resort at Ridge but with Jake, with all his ailments, his age and his deep state of depression it was something we talked about.
As we all know it is impossible to properly assess a dog when it is in the kennels, so I decided to take Jake home for a few days to see if there was any improvement. He was a delightful addition to our household! Not only did he stink because of his skin condition but the growth continued to ooze steadily through any T shirt or top we put on him.

He slunk into the house, oblivious to the other animals, and promptly put himself on hunger strike. We literally had to drag him into the living room and pick him up, avoiding the oozing lump, and settle him onto the sofa where he stayed all night.
In the morning the sun came out and with it so did Jake. When we came downstairs he met us with a gently swooshing tail(which was lovely but not so lovely as it helped to spread his aroma around the hall), he ate his breakfast and looked for more, and then he dashed out into the
garden with the rest of the dogs.

The change was truly amazing. It was as if he was telling us he was the perfect family pet and we must not give up on him! We listened and sent him to the vets to have the surgery he so desperately needed. Within 10 days Mr Perfect was well and truly back on form. Any dog job that was going in the house, whether it was going to dog agility, going out with the children for a walk, playing football, playing fetch or just cuddling on the sofa, Jake was always the one to put his paw up first. As a fully fledged member of his foster family, and in an effort to find him a new permanent home, Jake accompanied us to a horse show.
One of the fun classes, called Horse and Hound, involved the horse and rider having to jump a course of jumps and then the rider dismounts and then runs another course of jumps with their dog against the clock Our children begged to do this with Jake, who was the oldest looking dog there by miles! Secretly we thought that Jake and Sienna, my daughter, were about to be humiliated by being the slowest by miles, especially when we saw the border collies, terriers and lurchers straining at their leads to get going. But Jake the wonder dog rose to the occasion and flew around his course, coming a very admirable second place. This performance finalised it in my children's mind. Jake had to stay! At 14ish, still partly bald, with only a few teeth and still suffering from cancer, he was without doubt the perfect family pet. From the wretched animal that had no interest left in life to what we have now just reminds us that WE SHOULD NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER!

jake at show rspca_2.4_rg 2_PWPC01JULY_113055

Pictures by Frances Kay

What a star! Jake, with Sienna White, proudly shows off his rosette.

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