Starving and all alone, Jake was found helplessly wandering around a woodland.
Nobody knows how such a sweet dog ended up like this, but by the time he arrived at our Burford rehoming centre he was one of the most emaciated strays the team has ever seen.
With his ribs and hips protruding, he weighed just 25.4kg when he was first picked up by the local dog warden – just two thirds the bodyweight of a healthy black Labrador his size.
The eight-year-old was so thin that he was unable to regulate his body temperature, so needed to wear a jumper at all times. And he had suffered muscle wastage on his back legs, which left him even weaker.
Amber Cooney, Animal Welfare Assistant, said: “We’ve seen worst cases in females that have had puppies, but Jake is definitely one of the worst cases we’ve seen in a stray male dog.”
Rebuilding Jake’s strength from so little was a challenge, and one that needed to be done slowly; food needed to be gradually introduced to avoid causing other health complications.
Alicia Fay, Animal Welfare Assistant, explained: “He had three meals a day so that he put weight on gradually, and he was fed with puzzle games so that he didn’t wolf it down, as his stomach wouldn’t have coped.”
Due to his leg problems, walks also needed to be approached with caution; short and on-lead to ensure he didn’t run around and do more damage while we built up his fragile muscles.