Abandoned dog is nursed back to health at shelter
Mrs. Tiggywinkle ("Tiggy" for short)

The vacation season in particular is a time full of anticipation for many people every year. However, many vacationers then "surprisingly" discover that their pet, so beloved until then, stands in the way of their vacation plans. Sadly, but true: Each year on the average 500,000 domestic animals are abandoned by their owners — and not only at vacation time.

That's what happened to a female dog found in a forest in Northumberland County in northern England in early December. "When I first saw her, I thought she was dead [...] but she managed to hang on until she was found," reports Jan Ross, the head of Berwick Animal Rescue Kennels.

The dog, who was christened "Mrs. Tiggywinkle" ("Tiggy" for short) by her rescuers, weighed only 10.8 kg (23.8 lbs). (Normal for a representative of the dog breed "Lurcher" like Tiggy is about 20 kg (44 lbs)). She kept collapsing when she wanted to get up and walk. She was rushed to a veterinarian who, in addition to her obvious malnutrition, diagnosed her with a fur mite infection. She had hardly any fur left and her body temperature was only 34.8ºC (94.6ºF) instead of the usual 38ºC (100.4ºF).

Tiggy spent the first night with a trained animal caretaker, where she was given special food about every two hours. The next day she was to be given an enclosure at the shelter. However, because she was in such critical condition, an animal care worker at the shelter decided without further ado to take Tiggy home with her. There, wrapped in pajamas, the dog curled up in front of the fireplace.

The next day, Tiggy tried to get up to eat, but her body failed — she was still that weak. She wasn't housebroken either, as she didn't dare go outside or even make it there. The primary concern of the animal caretakers, however, was to nurse her back to health. A few nights later, protected by the keeper's husband, Tiggy managed to stay on her feet a little longer. A small success was also that she had already gained over a kilo (2.2 lbs) within a week.

Despite ointments and regular baths, the mites did not disappear, so the doctor had to prescribe Tiggy antibiotics. With their help and thanks to her steady weight gain, she became stronger day by day. One day, when shelter manager Jan's 7-year-old grandson came to visit, Tiggy blossomed. "She was very affectionate and cautious toward him," Jan reports.

One day, Tiggy stood at the front door as if she wanted to go outside. At the last moment she backed out, however, even this was progress in this situation. Then, a few days later, she enjoyed the fresh air as she took small walks. She also gradually became housebroken.

The shelter shared Tiggy's story on its Facebook page in an attempt to find her old owners. After all, no one knows if Tiggy had run away or had been intentionally left in the woods. The appeal resulted in numerous animal lovers donating blankets, toys and also money for Tiggy's recovery.

After a month of intensive care, Tiggy has recovered to the point where her fur is growing again and she can now play and romp around with other dogs in the shelter's garden. Unfortunately, Tiggy's former owners never got in touch.

Fortunately, Tiggy has found a new family in the meantime. Two other rescued dogs live there with her. Hopefully, the dog lady will never have to go through what she experienced again and will finally be happy in her new family.

In the following video Jan tells Tiggy's story again and shows how she was shortly before her adoption (in English):

Jan has clear words for the suffering Tiggy and many other animals have to endure every day: "Cruelty to animals is NEVER OKAY and there is no excuse for not asking for help out of shame. It's much more embarrassing when everyone calls your name in connection with 'animal abuser'." Couldn't agree more with Jan!

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