Written by Bridgette Allan
Professional photography by Ace Photography
Willow was picked up as a stray nine-week-old puppy in very bad condition. She was found cowering under a tree trying to escape from pouring rain. She was soaking wet, covered in ticks, infested with worms, and lame, due to a massive abscess on her hind leg that the vet said was from an infection via the umbilical cord shortly after she was born, known as “joint ill”.
My son’s girlfriend, who rescued her, was unable to care for her as she works full time. So we agreed to take her in with the idea that we’d foster her for a brief period while finding a loving forever home for her. Nobody came forward to claim the pup, but they would have had some serious explaining to do anyway, considering the terrible state she was in.
Unfortunately, Willow was much sicker than we realised, and not only did she have to be hospitalised for the massive abscess on her leg, she developed parvovirus! She was in hospital for nine days and thereafter needed physio and rehabilitation for her leg, as well as a special home-cooked diet, as it appears she may have long-term gut issues from the parvo.
We took Willow to see a vet who specialises in canine sport medicine, and we were given a fun exercise programme to follow to help her develop the muscles in her affected leg and to learn to use her leg correctly.
Willow was initially up for adoption, but her special needs persisted, and we were unable to rehome her. She has an extremely sensitive stomach that the vet suspects is damage from the parvovirus. A specially formulated home-cooked diet is required with supplements to make sure she absorbs enough nutrients to grow properly.
Willow has now become part of our family. We’ve taken her to puppy school and she starts obedience class this week, as she’s quite an energetic handful.
We were very curious to know what breeds Willow was made up of so we could get an idea of what size she would grow to and the type of dog we were training. Woolly Willow, as I call her, is a German Shepherd/Labrador mix, and we’re really pleased to know what mix she is!
Willow’s MuttMix results:
Level 2 German Shepherd Dog
Level 3 Labrador Retriever
Willow is now five months old, and although still underweight, she’s a healthy, happy and highly energetic doggo.
When we first took Willow in, I started a Facebook page for her – initially to help find a home for her and later to try and raise some funds to assist with the huge expenses we incurred saving her. Follow her Facebook page.
Dominique of MuttMix adds…
The combination of German Shepherd Dog and Labrador Retriever will make for an incredibly energetic and intelligent dog with a need for regular exercise and training – an excellent addition to any family, and Willow’s adoptive family are very lucky to have her in their lives!