Puppy Farm Dog Merlin Wins Award
How do you judge a Dog of Courage award? This was the tough task set for the good judges at the Diana Brimblecombe Animal Rescue Centre Fun Day who had to pick from a line-up of courageous dogs just one to take away the 2017 Dog of Courage Shield. It’s a class where stories are hard to hear, animals whose lives have involved great difficulty and in many cases human inflicted cruelty. Susie-Belle won the award in 2012 and in Saving Susie-Belle I give a flavour of how much the award meant:
“Above all, she had shown the strength of courage to accept our love. When Susie-Belle was announced the winner of the DBARC Dog of Courage award, Michel and I were without question the proudest people in the show that day and truly thankful to have her in our lives” ~ Chapter 23, Saving Susie-Belle
So I had an inkling of how Jan and Jackie felt on Sunday when their beloved Merlin triumphed in this most poignant of classes. Just a few months ago Merlin’s future looked bleak as he arrived at DBARC with numerous problems, including several tumours with one huge one affecting his leg.(Read more here).
Merlin had been saved from a puppy farm where his health had obviously never been a priority. His badly damaged teeth and nails strongly indicated he’d tried to scrabble and chew his way out of wherever he’d been imprisoned. Cruel neglect directly led to the untreated leg tumour becoming so large and complicated that veterinary specialists decided the best way to save his life was for him to lose his leg. He had the amputation at the end of January and spent several weeks with DBARC recovering from this major surgery before being well enough to go to his new home with Jan and Jackie.
Jan told me how Merlin came to join their family,
Having had Holly and Poppy for over 11 years from puppyhood I became aware several years ago of the great work some rescues do saving puppy farm breeding dogs. Being local to DBARC, 3.5 yrs ago I met little Judy who was being fostered by Janet and I quickly realised what a scary life she’d led. When we adopted Judy at first she wouldn’t let us touch her but we worked hard to bring her confidence out and haven’t looked back. I was so impressed with the fab work DBARC does that I started volunteering with them.
Jan told me that in her volunteer capacity at DBARC she spent a lot of time with Merlin:
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of looking after Merlin and just fell in love with him. Would you believe we got him because I hadn’t got Jackie a first wedding anniversary present. Together we decided that a dog having had his leg amputated deserved a great life and to have 3 sisters to help him on his new journey. We brought him home during the Easter holidays.
Merlin’s story certainly captured the hearts of many kind people. Like others, Jan and Jackie were not only upset at the cruelty that led to the dreadful state he was found in and the life-changing surgery, but also wanted to do something more to help. It’s wonderful to hear from Jan how he’s slotted into home life with his new family:
Merlin has a soulful look in his eyes and looks right into you. His confidence and trust grows every day . He has a funny little bark that sounds like a sea lion! He often rolls on his back with his 3 legs in the air. When I’m gardening he follows me around and looks to me for reassurance ! I have to carry him up the stairs to bed at night and he wasn’t initially too keen on being picked up. So now we say “1,2,3” and he knows to expect to be picked up and he’s got used to it now. We’re so honoured to be given the opportunity to give this little man a new life , a happy and secure life with his sisters.
And, not only did Merlin deservedly win the Dog of Courage Award on Sunday, he went on to walk away on his three legs with the DBARC Best in Show. The past 6 months have seen a remarkable turnaround for this sweet chap, in all best possible ways. I can’t begin to imagine a more apt winner for Best in Show than a three legged, once neglected, seriously ill stud dog. Perfect.