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Give A Dog A Home....

Hello! I’m Vicky, a Veterinary Nurse and have worked in a vet clinic at a rehoming centre for 15 years now. As well as being a huge advocate for rehoming animals in a professional capacity I am also the proud Mum of two rescue dogs Maddy and TJ.

Maddy is a black Labrador, she came into our rehoming centre in a very bad condition. She was very thin and bald with a nasty skin condition. Tests later showed that she had sarcoptic mange, a heavy burden of mites that cause hair loss and huge skin irritation. Her ears were completely bald and like two black crisps sticking out of her head, both split and bleeding at the ends and I didn’t think they would ever go back to normal, but after treatment and medicated baths every other day she very quickly improved.

She was very quiet and nervous at first, who knows what she had been through, but I took her home a few weeks after she came in and she has come on leaps and bounds! This was 8 years ago, and she has been my beautiful companion ever since. We don’t know how old she was when she came in, but she is a very grey lady now but still loves her walks, cuddles and being a Labrador, obviously her food!

TJ is a Rottweiler, Border Collie cross (we recently found out his exact breed mix by doing a cheek swab DNA test which I asked for as a Christmas present last year!). He came into our rehoming centre from council run stray kennels. As a big nervous dog, he wasn’t a great candidate for rehoming, but we decided to give him a chance.I took him home almost straight away as dogs like him often deteriorate in a kennel environment, so I thought that was his best chance. He was very clingy and loving but obviously had had no socialisation because he was very nervous of all new things he encountered. His hair was very thick and greasy, so we guess that he had been kept outside, probably tied up in a yard somewhere. The vet aged him as around a year old, so he still had some growing to do.

He was a handful to start with and needed gentle introduction to the world around him. People, other dogs, livestock and car journeys were all new to him but with a bit of patience from us and Maddy as an older fur sister to show him the way he soon settled in and started to enjoy the comfortable life and 7 years down the line and he has been a beautiful addition to our family, now a big fur brother to two little human siblings who adore them both!


Having worked with rescue animals for a very long time I would always recommend rehoming an animal in need. I know it is not always easy as each one comes with a different history of how they have been treated by people in the past.

Many will have been reluctantly given up for genuine reasons and cared for well previously, these animals usually find new homes quickly and adapt well, but if this is not the case it may be something as a new owner that you will have to help them overcome. It’s so rewarding to see an animal grow from a quiet, nervous, deeply unhappy creature to a confident, life loving member of a family.

My hope is that I have had my dogs long enough now that they can’t even remember how they were treated before they came to us or any fear and uncertainty they may have felt. One of the things that I find most upsetting about animals who come into our rehoming centre is the oldies. We will always endeavour to find an animal a new loving home but for the oldies that home may only be for a couple of years or maybe even a few short months. These are the owners that I admire the most, taking on these oldies means you take on possible health problems and the sadness of saying goodbye to that pet quite soon, but how selfless to give these less ‘rehomeable’ animals a chance at the safe, loving retirement home that they so deserve!

To use an old phrase; saving one animal won’t change the world, but the world will change for that animal.

Vicky O'Neill

Support rescue centres in a smaller way by treating your dog to a bag of Beautiful Joe's Liver Treats.  For every bag sold, Beautiful Joe's donate a bag to dogs in need.  Read more here.... 

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