• Sophie Bell

Rescue Dogs - A best Friend

Updated: Mar 4

 <img src="dog and a woman.jpg" alt="Dr Sophie Bell with her rescue dog">

Izzy and I after climbing a big hill!

I’ve spoken about Izzy before (also known as Weasel and Beans) she features in my online course, what an amazingly good girl she is.

But you know she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my crazy, off the wall vetting! Here’s her full story...

One Sunday when working for a charity practice I received that dreaded call, the one which no vet wants. “Good morning, this is ••••• vets emergency line, how can I help you?” And next came the following “we need to book our dog in for an emergency put to sleep, she has bitten our child”. “ok come down immediately”.

At this point I needed to think about the questions I wanted to ask. Why? When? How bad? Has she shown aggression before this? I also looked at the “you’re signing her over to me document”

Within the hour Izzy and her male owner arrive. She doesn’t act like a normal dog. Completely disconnected to me and the vet nurse. No emotions shown towards us, just jumping up at her owner and wrapping her paws around his waist.

He was crying at this point.

“What happened? Can you tell me please? I need to assess her as this is a big decision and not one I take lightly”. Then he explains.

“This morning she bit my daughter, we have 5 children and three have anger management issues. They had an argument which involved my wife and they hit her. The dog got involved and bit one of the children. The thing is, our house is volatile and she will do it again, we don’t doubt that. So it is safer for everyone if she is put to sleep”.

Oh crap here I am faced with this situation. Although I can refuse euthanasia, if the owner goes and hurts/kills the dog themselves I lose potentially my job for not doing as requested humanly. F**k it I thought, let’s take a chance. So I print off the “sign your dog over document”. She was 18 months old.

“Sign her over to the practice. We can look to re-home her”.

At that point the wife and bitten child walk in. Wife has two black eyes, child has a red and bruised mark from Izzy’s bite. Yep mind is made up you will sign her over. They did that with no quarrels.

Thank goodness I thought it was over and Izzy was safe at that point. I ask some questions, does she play with any toys (nope) does she like a ball (nope) what does she eat (rubbish basically). Anyway she belongs to the practice, no euthanasia, safe.

We pop her in a kennel overnight, whilst I decide what to do. Then I get a call from the overnight nurse in the morning to say “Izzy has been anxious in the kennel, but happy when out playing with a ball”. I mean what!!

Apparently she doesn’t like the ball.

So I frantically call around to find her a home, but in the meantime, you guessed it she came home with me. This seriously anxious, stressed dog pacing the room over and over. I worked with her over the following two weeks, then had a response from someone who would take this collie cross who had bitten a child on. I sobbed like a baby all night, I didn’t want her to go.

I’m at a conference sometime after and get a phone call from the practice “they want her back”. “Ok send me their phone number, when I’m off the underground I’ll speak with them”. We don’t need the ins and outs of our conversation, but let’s just say they were not getting her back. She was safe with me.

Anyway roll on a couple of days and I said “no I’m keeping her”. What had I done!

She barks all the time, paces the room, has no affection towards me, can’t travel in a car and so on! But I was committed to her so that was that.

 <img src="dog and a woman.jpg" alt="Dr Sophie Bell with her rescue dog">

Here she is, aged 9. The softest, most loyal dog. Doesn’t like raised voices (that’s ok) wets herself if she’s here’s fireworks or gunshots (we manage this) and rounds my 3 toddlers up like sheep (this is quite amusing!). She alerts us if the children are upset and puts her paws around us when we are sad (she did this when my mum died). She’s still a pain with her barking, but she’s our pain and I wouldn’t change her for the world.

Please consider a rescue dog if you can. Yes they may come with baggage, but in the right home they can be the best friend you’ll ever have. Full of love and appreciation

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