This is the moment a dog found emaciated after going missing was reunited with his overjoyed owner.
Dog Ty went missing while out on a walk just after Christmas. Weeks later, he was found curled up in a shop doorway amid freezing winter conditions, emaciated and lifeless.
The kind-hearted finder rushed him to our Victoria animal hospital where our vets gave him emergency treatment.
“I can’t thank whoever found him enough, I really can’t,” said Ty’s besotted owner Leanne Connelly.
“We were searching for hours trying to find him, and we just couldn’t find him, poor thing. We missed him so much. I couldn’t sleep because I was wondering where he was and what had happened to him.”
Nick of time
Ty arrived in our care in the nick of time. In the three weeks he had been straying, he had slimmed down to 13.5 kilogrammes – just 60 per cent of his ideal body weight.
Mark Bossley, Chief Veterinary Surgeon at Blue Cross, explained that a dog of Ty’s age can quickly lose body mass after three weeks on the streets without a proper diet: “Ty’s an older dog with some underlying medical conditions and his body condition rapidly went downhill during his time wandering the streets in the freezing weather. He’s very lucky to be alive as he was in such a bad way when he came in.”
We put the stray dog on a drip and settled him on to a warm bed in a cosy kennel, where he was monitored closely for 24 hours a day. We also gave Ty a heat pad – like a doggy hot water bottle – and lots of blankets to make sure his shrunken and wasted body would keep warm.
Days from death
Mark added: “We were shocked by Ty’s condition. He was severely emaciated and wouldn’t have survived much longer had he not been found. We wanted to investigate why he was so underweight.
"We ran blood tests which were clear but we found that he had a very bloated stomach so we did an exploratory laparotomy. There was a large congealed ball of unsuitable food sitting in Ty’s stomach – he must have been so hungry that he just ate whatever he could find to stay alive and over-engorged himself.”
The team managed to stabilise him but it was touch and go for some days.
Out there somewhere
Ty's sweet and affectionate temperament suggested he had a worried owner out there somewhere. But because Ty wasn’t microchipped or wearing a collar and tag, we were unable to trace Leanne or get in touch with her to let her know that her beloved pet was safe in our care. We didn’t know Ty’s name either, so we called him ‘Jim’.
Stray dogs are the legal responsibility of the local authority dog warden and are usually taken to council kennels to wait to be reunited with their owners, but due to Ty’s poor health, the dog warden agreed the best place for him was in the care of Blue Cross’s dedicated team of vets and nurses.
We can’t recommend microchipping your pet enough. If they go missing, it’s the only realistic way of making sure they are returned to you. From 6 April 2016, all dogs in the UK must be microchipped by law.
On a strict, little and often diet, and with the medication he needed, Ty grew stronger at our animal hospital and was eventually well enough to go to one of our rehoming centres to continue his rehabilitation.
We had sent Ty’s story to newspapers and hoped this would bring his owner forward, but Leanne didn’t see the appeal and we were left with no choice but to try and find Jim a loving new home.
Meanwhile, Leanne and her family continued to search for their vanished pet. By now he had been missing for over a month and the family began to believe they would never see Ty again.
But amazingly, Leanne’s ex-partner spotted a poster in the area of south London close to where Ty was last seen that seemed to describe their missing pet.
He got in touch with the finder, who told him she had taken a lifeless Ty to our animal hospital for help.
Leanne phoned us as soon as she could, hoping for good news and to be reunited with Ty at long last. The answer was exactly what the desperate dog owner wanted to hear.
Last week, we were finally able to reunite Ty with the owner he had been apart from for over three months. It was an emotional moment the whole team had been looking forward to for so long.
Ty's friends need your help. Sponsor a pet from as little as £3 a month, and you’ll help our animal hospitals and pet care clinics treat sick and injured pets when their owners can’t afford private veterinary fees
After the tears subsided, an elated Leanne told us her three children and her mother were waiting at home, ready to welcome Ty back to the family: “I’ve had him since he was three; since my eldest was six months old and she’s now nine years old.
“My children will be so pleased to have him back. They’re going to go nuts as soon as they see him! It’s been all my youngest has been talking about, her Ty, Ty.
“I can’t thank Blue Cross enough for everything they’ve done for him.”
Ty is now microchipped so if he ever runs off again, he can be brought straight back to his family in no time.
Thanks to your support, our vets, nurses and animal welfare teams were able to get Ty back on his feet – even though he was a little wobbly at first. Without Blue Cross, stray pets like Ty have little hope of survival, and without you, we couldn’t have got Ty home. Thank you.