The Dickens Dogs know that we are very lucky to be loved so much. No matter what befalls – as with my big op last week – we are always taken care of and a way through found. When Barnaby’s cousin Rosie had her second litter, six months ago, this household paused for thought about whether we should put our names down for another golden bear. After all, Uncle NuNu had had his ninth birthday in May and Barnaby (always thought of as a youngster, simply because he is the youngest retriever) will be seven in November. We came to our senses and resisted the opportunity to bring another golden Tilldawn into our care but the comparative infrequency of a Tilldawn litter makes the possibility of securing one of the pups something one has to decide on without undue delay: they are an incomparable line of golden retrievers, whose temperaments and handsome good looks distinguish them in a world awash with indiscriminate breeding, motivated by income: a regular supply of litters obviously means more sales.
One of the bitches in Rosie’s litter turned out to be very special. Little Lily was born with a deformed front leg, the paw turned over permanently, making it impossible to put her left foreleg down on to the ground. Though occasionally a puppy fails to thrive, this deformity was a first experience of such a thing in a lifetime of breeding, furthermore, it presented a dilemma, especially when the local vet confirmed the suspicion that Lily would never be able to use her leg properly and would always have to balance on the other three. Adult golden retrievers grow quickly into big, heavy dogs, weighing over seventy pounds, and it doesn’t take much imagination to appreciate that the manoeuvres a tiny puppy finds manageable would place inordinate strain on adult skeleton and musculature. The best, but most difficult, course of action would seem to be to euthanise sooner rather than later; easier said than done, though, even if thought to be in the pup’s best interests.
But hard-headed decisions and financial considerations are not the Tilldawn way. Love and care and thinking things through are the Tilldawn way, even if it means a great deal of stress for the humans in charge. So it is that now, nearly six months old, Lily is very much alive and well. Her breeder kept back a little boy puppy to grow up along with Lily (there are lots of aunties available to love Lily but they’d not be much good for fun and frolic, would they?), so she and Travis had a wonderful childhood together, as these pictures show. Lily has now been found a permanent home, and was given to a kindly and experienced family with a cockerpoo she plays with constantly, up and down stairs, in and out of the garden. Life is amazing for her, a real little character. And that isn’t all. Lily will shortly be accompanying her breeder and new owner to see the orthopedic genius, super-vet Noel Fitzpatrick, to see if he can work his magic with a reconstructive operation. Thought British viewers are used to gasping at his bionic wonders, nothing like that would be thinkable for Lily. If her mobility can be improved by some intervention, Noel is the man to know. More about how Lily gets on anon.
You can learn more about Fitzpatrick referrals on their website at http://www.fitzpatrickreferrals.co.uk/ and catch up on the Channel 4 programmes about his work on http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-supervet