Stray dog found freezing on a mountain top finds forever home

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As he snuggles up warm and content on the sofa of his new home, Arlo’s frostbitten ears are now the only reminder of his sad, traumatic past.

The six-year-old crossbreed was found abandoned on a mountain top in Wales on a freezing cold January day – frightened, emaciated and with wounds on the tips of his ears caused by prolonged exposure to the bitter, sub-zero air.

Had he not been rescued there and then, he would have soon lost his fight for survival.

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Arlo's frostbitten ears are now the only reminder of his traumatic past.

But that sadly wasn’t the end of his battle. When Arlo – known as Trevor by Blue Cross – arrived at our then brand new Suffolk rehoming centre after being found, he had months of health difficulties to overcome.

Kristina Dimitrova, Animal Welfare Supervisor at the rehoming centre, said: “When he came to us, Arlo was rather skinny with his hip bones protruding. He was also very shy and shut down.

“Our vets checked him over and also found him to have anaemia, which was the possible cause of a heart murmur that had been detected, and likely to be down to him being starved.”

On top of this, the bits of his ears damaged by the frostbite needed to be removed.

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More worryingly, though, was that after weeks in our care Arlo, who was painfully thin at just 6kg, was not only unable to put on any weight – he was losing it.

Kristina said: “While he was with us he seemed to be losing weight rapidly, despite a great appetite for food. We carried out different tests and he was found to have a pancreatic insufficiency, which meant his body was unable to properly digest food due to the lack of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas.”

Arlo was started on treatment to address the imbalance in his body, and placed in a foster home under close monitoring because kennels were too daunting for him.

“Our foster carer ensured that all medication was given at exactly the right times, and we started to see Arlo improving slowly – he started to put weight on and appeared much brighter and perkier,” said Kristina.

It took months to get Arlo firmly on the road to recovery and his complicated medical profile meant that three homes fell through due to his need for long-term treatment.

That was until Jenny Frederick and family came along, nearly four months after becoming one of the first ever arrivals at Blue Cross Suffolk’s new centre.

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“We had been looking for another dog for quite some time and when we saw Arlo come up on the Blue Cross website, we knew he was perfect for us,” said Jenny, who took him home in May.

Arlo now lives in Ipswich with Jenny, her husband Mathias and daughter Kezia, as well as new best friend Bedlington whippet May, aged six, and the family’s four cats.

And life could not be better for this once neglected boy.

“When he’s ready to go for a walk he spins round in circles and gets so excited. To see how happy he is when he’s out walking, with his tail constantly wagging, is just so lovely, especially considering his terrible background,” said Jenny.

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When we’re out in the woods with him and May there are lots of tracks and it’s like they’re in an amusement park together. They just run about chasing each other!” said Kezia.

“Obviously he can never catch up with her but he gives it all he’s got with his little legs. They have such a good time.”

In between walks, Arlo likes nothing more than curling up in a warm spot in his new home and enjoying a good old tummy rub. On sunny days, he heads to the conservatory or outside if it’s hot.

If there’s a beam of sunlight to lie in, he’ll find it. And, understandably, he dislikes the cold..

“He loves the sun. He was found in January and the centre said he really didn’t like the cold. He gets scared when it rains as well; he used to really shake when there was heavy rain,” said Kezia.

“When I look at the pictures of him before, he looks like a different dog. I still can’t quite believe that he went through all that. His ears are just a constant reminder.”

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Despite being a dog that had little reason to trust humans initially, Arlo has struck up an unbreakable bond with his new family.

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One of Arlo's favourite things is now tummy tickles

Jenny said: “He wasn’t too interested in us as people at first, perhaps because he didn’t know if he could trust us, but he is now.

“On walks he keeps turning round to make sure we’re still there, which he didn’t do initially. And the minute you come through the door he’s barking as he’s so happy to see you.”

Kezia added: “He always wants a tummy rub – when I’m brushing him I have to hold him upright otherwise his legs collapse and he just wants you to rub his belly.”

“We are like a pair of lovesick teenagers over him,” Jenny laughed.

Arlo, who at 12kg is now double the weight he was when he was found, is continuing on his special diet, which requires three meals a day and his food to be mixed with a special medication to help him digest it. He also returns to the Suffolk rehoming centre every six months for blood tests and a vitamin B12 injection to keep him healthy.

But for the Fredericks, every minute of extra care and attention they need to give Arlo is worth it.

“He’s just brought everything to our family, he has enriched our lives so much. He brings sheer joy, we wouldn’t be without him now,” said Jenny.

Kezia added: “It just makes us so happy to see him happy. To know his story, to know where he’s come from, and the fact we’ve been able to give him a home and the warmth and comfort he needs, is lovely.

"He’s had an awful start to life but a nice happy ending. He knows he’s safe now.”

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— Page last updated 23/02/2017