Our Animal Welfare Officers are always on call to respond to animal welfare issues out in the community and provide ongoing support to pet owners in difficulty on a daily basis. So when we were alerted to a local homeless man, whose beloved dog had been hit by a car, our Officers were on hand to help.
Four-year-old Staffie, Lucky, had been crossing the street near Portobello Road, London, with her owner, when all of a sudden a car had appeared from nowhere, running poor Lucky down.
Lucky’s owner, Gulbar Hussain, said: “It all happened so fast. I had managed to get out of the way, but Lucky had no chance. The car didn’t even stop and quickly sped off.”
“Who would do something like that? Hit a poor defenceless dog and leave them there to die. I was terrified. I’ve had Lucky since she was a puppy and she has always been by my side. The thought of not having her here scared the life out of me.”
After the incident Lucky was given pain relief, but when her owner realised she still wasn’t bearing any weight on her hind right leg, X-rays were taken at RSPCA Putney during out of hours. Lucky was later brought into Mayhew and our Vet Team discovered that the poorly pooch had broken her hind right leg and fractured her pelvis. She was in a lot of pain and could hardly move.
Mayhew’s Vet, Áine Maguire, said: “Poor Lucky seemed to suffer more from separation anxiety from being apart from her owner and would constantly cry for him.”
“We performed a femoral head and neck excision on her hind right leg, which is a procedure used to treat painful hip conditions. The surgery was successful and Lucky recovered well from the procedure. She had to be completely rested for a couple of weeks so that her fractured pelvis had time to heal.”
Our Vet Team monitored Lucky’s condition closely over the next three weeks and slowly she began to put weight on her leg again. Thankfully after receiving medical treatment and lots of rest, Lucky was allowed to continue her recovery with her owner, and was soon showing off her affectionate and loyal side. She needed cage rest for a further five weeks before returning to Mayhew for a check-up.
Our Animal Welfare Officer, Tania Mazzoni, said: “It is extremely clear that Lucky is very important to Gulbar and vice versa. When Lucky had to stay with us for three weeks to recover, Gulbar would visit constantly and bring in food for Lucky – they were inseparable! She was extremely lucky not to be more seriously hurt. She isn’t just Lucky by name, but Lucky by nature too.”
“A dog is often a homeless person’s only companion and they create this incredible bond. Lucky and Gulbar would be lost without each other and that’s why it is so important we try and keep them together.”
In this particular case, we covered all of the veterinary costs for Lucky as her owner was in a vulnerable situation and also provided a collapsible cage and physio tips so that Lucky could continue her recovery once she had been reunited with her owner.
We works with several organisations that offer support to homeless people in London. Some homeless people have animals and it is important to ensure that the animals are cared for appropriately and the carers given welfare advice and assistance where necessary.
Our Animal Welfare Officers visit homeless hostels and drop in centres including Thames Reach, Broadway Homeless Hostel and Drop in Centre, Spitalfields Crypt Trust and St Mungo’s, as part of their community-based outreach projects to help vulnerable people in crisis situations.
They offer support and advice for homeless dog owners including free general health checks and micro-chipping. They also encourage and book in their dogs for free neutering, vaccinations and a general health check with a Mayhew vet. If their pets have any sickness or injury, our Officers will take their dog back to our Community Vet Clinic for free treatment.
The homeless people that our Officers work with also have the Animal Welfare Officers’ mobile numbers so that they can contact our team at any time. Our Officers have built strong personal relationships with the homeless that they work with and they know that they can turn to our Officers for support and help whatever the situation.
Our Officers also attend Crisis at Christmas every year and attend venues where homeless people can receive temporary shelter over the Christmas period. We offer advice and assistance on caring for their dog while they receive help and support from the charity.
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