Arthur and Natalie
A tale of compassion and true love
Day after day staff at the centre work hard to match the new home requirements of the dogs in our care with potential new families.
Energetic dogs are best suited to someone with an active lifestyle whereas older dogs are placed with people who are home a lot and are looking for a companion. Dogs who are content to be left for a few hours can be placed with the working families. But what about the dogs that arrive at the centre and are found to need palliative care?
This is the touching story of Arthur and Natalie
Natalie started working for Dogs Trust in July 2016 and after a year in kennels took up the position of Home from Home Coordinator. The role includes recruiting members of the public to care for the old, nervous or sick dogs that are in need of a little extra "TLC". Natalie knew that the role would be challenging, but nothing prepared her for meeting an amazing dog called Arthur.
In April 2018 Dogs Trust Darlington took into their care a very old Staffordshire bull terrier called Arthur who had the sweetest smile and temperament. He barked and cried in kennels as all he really wanted was to have human companionship. Natalie took Arthur home for a break from kennels supposedly for just a few nights. From the start Arthur was an amazing house guest and for the first few days all he did was catch up on his sleep. The pair spent lots of quality time together just relaxing, plenty of snoozing and going out for short walks.
It soon became apparent that his legs were quite weak. After having X-rays, Arthur was diagnosed with advanced osteoarthritis and because of the severity of it he was put on four different types of pain relief. By now the two had formed a strong bond and Natalie planned to adopt Arthur. The vet team advised that due to his condition Arthur would need ongoing check-ups and would benefit from regular hydrotherapy. They also advised that he would need to become a palliative care dog and the best option was for Natalie to sign herself up as a Foster Carer. For eight months he was doing well and brought lots of happiness into Natalie’s life, he also captured the hearts of everyone who met him. Arthur was such a loving and amazing dog and everything Natalie could have wished for in a companion.
Unfortunately in the New Year there were signs that Arthur was uncomfortable, he would cry endlessly at night and take a long time to settle. Following an examination by the centre vet and a series of tests unfortunately Arthur was diagnosed with a brain tumour. By now he was in a lot of pain and the only option was to let him go peacefully. On 21st January 2019 Natalie said goodbye to this amazing boy.
The aim of telling this story is not to bring tears to your eyes but to show that there is so much to gain from giving a dog needing palliative care the best life ever in the time they have remaining. Yes you will need to prepare yourself for the fact that they won’t be around forever; there will be appointments to keep and a perhaps a few tears along the way. However we do believe that this would be totally outweighed by all the love and affection that would be shared.
If you are thinking about getting a canine companion please think about Arthur and Natalie's story and consider whether you could make an older dogs retirement an extra special time. For more information on becoming a foster carer please contact Dogs Trust Darlington on 01325 333114 or email [email protected].