Nilla to become a therapy dog

Nilla - An unlucky campo dog who had been abandoned because she was no use as a working farm dog. Thrown into a pen and left to die of exhaustion […]

nilla on way to vetNilla - An unlucky campo dog who had been abandoned because she was no use as a working farm dog. Thrown into a pen and left to die of exhaustion in the sun with no food or water, she was a hopeless case. Her back legs were paralysed and all she could do was drag herself on her front legs. A farm that Actin had been watching over for some years now and encouraging the owners to take better care of the animals was the place her own uncaring owner had left her... We spotted her on a slow drive past; staggering around as though she was having a fit. We stopped spoke to the farmer, and he happily lifted her over the fence and we put her in the car.

The intention to euthanise her at the vet and end her misery was delayed, as we needed to get other dogs back to the kennels after their vet visit, it was a hot day.

Nilla so named after the village she is from, won our hearts with her determination to move, her strong character and her loving nature. So, after an initial examination at the vet, we planned to try and see what could be done for her. First it was treatment for infection to eliminate spine infection... x-rays revealed nothing. Some days she seemed to improve but she never complained and her carers found she was a joy to take care of.

Nilla after her bath

Nilla after her bath

nilla in boots

Nilla in her new boots

Nilla's plight was posted on Facebook and one follower, Claire, took Nilla’s plight into her heart and wanted to help her. Claire’s first gesture was a pair of protective shoes. Nilla’s back feet got dragged behind her and the rough Spanish terrain made her feet constantly grazed.

Funds were raised for Nilla to have an mri scan which showed she had hernias in her spine. A possibility to operate was discussed with the traumatologist and a date fixed for her operation. Alejandro the specialist surgeon examined her; he shook his head and explained to us why the operation wouldn’t work. It was bad news.

Feeling sad for her, I took her outside where she found a patch of grass and suddenly Nilla acted like a cat with catnip. At that moment I knew she needed to go to England. That night I dreamt of Nilla playing in deep green grass stretching for miles. I knew she should go to the UK.

Then came the miracle news from Claire in the UK, she had found a potential home for Nilla, but no ordinary home. Sara May runs a small rescue for disabled dogs but these dogs play a special role, they are therapy dogs and have been helping disabled soldiers come to terms with injury... Sarah’s dogs there are already doing wonderful things. (Further information about Sara May's rescue is at the end of this article.)

So our dear Nilla, a black farm dog, discarded in the Spanish campo is now being prepared for her trip to the UK. Thus proving once more, that dogs are special, they are worth more than they are given credit for, especially here in Spain. Nilla will be assessed for her suitability as a therapy dog, and if she doesn’t make the grade she will be adopted as a companion dog.

Whatever happens Nilla will be loved and has found her green green grass of home.

Nilla will be going to Sara May in the UK who runs a special needs pet rescue and rehabilitation, called No Limb. Sara May says:

We take dogs who we feel we can offer a good quality of life to and train them to become therapy dogs to work with people who have special needs themselves. We are based in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. None of our dogs are kennelled, they go to either myself, Petra or Marnie or one of our foster carers. If they pass the grade to become a therapy dog then they remain with us permanently. If they don't meet the requirements they are found forever homes but still remain under our care for life. Homes for special needs dogs are hard to come by so we are quite selective about what dog we will take.

Many come here with limbs missing so we fund raise to get them prosthetics or wheels depending on the nature of the injury and what best suits each individual dog. We are just about to start working with another charity, taking our dogs to the soldiers who have been injured to offer support to them.

Nilla will be seen by our own vet and a care plan will be put in place for her. She will come to me first and foremost for assessment in the hope she will be an ideal candidate as a therapy dog.

The gallery below shows some of the dogs under Sara May's care and how they help them. They also have 3 others who are in training. Lucy, fenix and llai, again special needs dogs who have lost limbs. They don't think Llai will make the grade sadly so he will be rehabilitated, have his wheels fitted and be rehomed as a companion dog.

We are looking forward to hearing news of Nilla's progress in the future.