Vincent arrived in a cardboard box. It was the same box he’d been discovered sitting in, at the exit to a car park, an hour or so earlier.
The ball of fluff should have been a pristine white, but he was mucky and sad. He had been left all alone with a soiled blanket, a filthy toy, and some food, but no water, so he was terribly thirsty.
Thankfully, the seven-week-old West Highland white terrier puppy was discovered by a kind member of the public who brought him straight to Blue Cross.
As with all abandoned pets brought through our doors, we gave the bewildered puppy the once-over so we could make sure he got any urgent treatment he needed – but we shocked by what we discovered.
Where a pointy and alert right ear should have been was a stump, with a wound showing a clean cut had been made across it. Someone, we believe, must have chopped off part of the tiny pup’s ear. And that wasn’t the last of it. His tail was missing; we suspect that it too had been deliberately removed.
Laura Smart, Blue Cross Animal Welfare Assistant at our Lewknor rehoming centre, where Vincent was cared for, said: “It’s so sad to think that someone could have left such a lovely puppy outside in the cold and all alone, especially with the injuries he has at such a young age. It’s so lucky that he was brought to us when he was.”
We named him after the painter Vincent van Gogh, who famously had only one ear. We took him immediately to the vets to examine his wounds and give him the painkillers and antibiotics he needed.
Laura added: “He was a little overwhelmed initially and quite thirsty, but it didn’t take long for his sweet, cheeky, playful character to soon shine through.”
A kennel is not the best environment for a dog as young as Vincent, who needed lots of human company, and so we placed him in foster care while he recovered from his ordeal.
When the phone rang and an email containing a photo of the lonely puppy followed, Sandra and Chas Brooks couldn’t turn him away. The couple were fairly new to fostering for Blue Cross, having helped just one dog before, but they knew they could give Vincent the loving home he had obviously been lacking in his short few weeks of life so far.
“I don’t think he knew what a home was,” said Sandra. “When he came in he was a bit in awe. A couple of days in and he’s got quite vocal! I think for me, and for Chas, we feel we’re giving them a little start of home life.”
“It’s like going into hospital,” Chas added. “You’re either going to be on a ward in the National Health, or have a private room. He gets a lot of attention here and he’s not getting all the noise of a kennel.”