I adopted Finleyfoo 2 years ago, through a friend who knew of a breeder who was retiring one of their studs and some bitches. We were told Finley was 6 and he just looked so adorable and as this was our first dog since I was little he just seemed perfect!
The day we brought Finleyfoo home our first shock was he was actually 7 and about to turn 8! He had never stayed in their home but their kennels, so to get him to used to a home environment they supposedly brought him in for a week to live with their dog!! As you can guess he has also never been in a car so it was a bit of a windy trip! The poor little lamb was in a terrible state by the next morning, his ears smelt horrific and he was violently shaking his head, he had an accident and was crying. I walked him down to Pets at Home as was so worried about him whereby the vet thought at first we had neglected him until we informed her we had only just got him! Poor Finleyfoo was 45kg which even though he is an old English Labrador pedigree this was far too much, his ears were rotten with mites, it was so bad that the vet could not see the ear canal. The vet could also see he had bad arthritis in his hips and back legs due to being kennelled and also his excessive weight. The vet’s advice was Steroid treatment and antibiotics and keep him comfortable - she said the state he was in basically just make him happy and comfy for the time he had left! As you can imagine being told this devastated me, but I am not one for giving up! My attitude was I am going to help and fix this dog or die trying!
Due to him living in kennels and always being around other dogs, Finleyfoo has never been on his own, so it took 6 weeks of me sleeping downstairs to finally getting him to sleep downstairs on his own! Even to this date he doesn't like it but knows this is the routine though he cries for me to get up from about 6am sometimes earlier in the light sunny summer mornings FUN!!!
I had to teach him how to eat from a bowl, and to get him to trust me I had to start off with hand feeding, which I then worked up to his whole dinner being in the bowl, supplementing with a little ham or cheese got us there and now he only ever gets ham or cheese as a treat every now and again! If anyone has ham beware he is mad for it!! As a little girl on a picnic with her dad found out! The only time I have ever taken him out and he wasn’t his well-behaved self!!
Exercise was a must for Finelyfoo but built up gently till he was happily doing 3-4 miles a day, obviously with his arthritis and weather we do have to reduce this right down when he as an attack or if it is raining but I shall come to that further down. To get our boy fully fit and strong we introduced him to the woods, taking my boy there you would honestly thought he had won the lottery! I shall load a picture of his first woods trip 2 weeks after we got him and his ears were a lot better! He loves to run around sniffing in there and meeting his friends who he has many and a few girlfriends too!
Due to me having to be in the office three days a week and at that time my mother had not retired so working five days a week, we had to find someone to look after him, luckily we found a lovely lady Debbie who runs her own dog boarding - but not kennels, oh no he stays in the house with her dog now dogs Bee and Prim and other dogs she has to stay too, he even gets to lounge in front of the wood burner, and has many cuddles and snuggles on their sofa! Finleyfoo is a dog that makes you work for it with him, but luckily he loved Debs and her family and between us we have I am pleased to say reaped the best reward as Finelyfoo is happy, healthy and 35kg which is perfect for his big build! He runs and jumps, he loves jumping in to the car!! He is such a social boy but now his first love is humans!
Finelyfoo's Arthritis - well due to me doing tons of research we manage it extremely well, but he does get flare ups if he does too much exercise, if the weather is very wet or cold. If this is the case when he cracks more than is normal, or he becomes very quiet and sometimes he has cried we always top him up with some painkiller, reduce him down to gentle short walks and up his supplements in to the treatment phase. Supplements have been a massive help to Finleyfoo and actually have supplied incredible results. We first started him on Lintbells Youmove which as a starting point are fantastic and he still gets these daily as they contain Green Lipseed Muscle and Glucosoamine, though last year he did have a bad attack so due to research I found supplements by Dorwest, well these are just amazing! We started him on treatment phase and now he is in maintenance phase on the Mixed Vegetables and then the Garlic and Fenungreek, the results have made me and my mum wish supplements for humans had as great a result!
We also bought a new magnetic Collar for Finleyfoo by Bioflow which has also seen a massive improvement! And he does have a wonderful memory foam mattres bed by Orvis which he loves, but is very partial to snuggling up to me on the sofa!
I will load up the photos as you will be able to see his journey. I have to say I am so proud of him, and I would not be without him, he is so gentle and well behaved and such a happy snuggily dog. He doesn't jump up on people; he rarely barks and is so good with children and amazing with people who have disabilities or the very elderly. My friends who have babies cannot believe how gentle he is.
I am not going to lie the first couple of months were really hard, and I was exhausted with a lot of tears, but to have the dog I have now was worth it all and I would do it again in a heartbeat!
I may have saved him but I do think he has saved me too! And this house is now a home with him in it!