This is the story of Spirit – The Lost Puppy

spirit3Home Counties Shih Tzu Rescue was contacted by trading standards saying they had a Shih Tzu puppy in a Colchester quarantine that had been bought into the country illegally. They were looking for his bills to be paid or he would be put to sleep, as nobody else was interested.

Home Counties Shih Tzu Rescue immediately said YES and then they were told of his story:

The little puppy was apparently stolen from a pet shop in Brussels and then smuggled into the UK. A security person saw him on a travellers’location site in Essex, so the Police and a dog warden were bought in and the little puppy was put into quarantine kennels.

spirit4He was checked for a microchip, which was traced back to a pet shop in Belgium. The Pet Shop were contacted about his whereabouts but were no longer had any interest in him.

So this little guy had no friends and has been taken under the wings of Home Counties Shih Tzu Rescue who are now involved in his on going care.

Pauline Read, the owner of Home Counties Shih Tzu Rescue knew she needed to meet this little lost man and went to the Colchester kennels. As you can see, he is adorable. He is not pure Shih Tzu, the team believe he is crossed with Lhasa Apso; he is around 4 to 5 months old.

spirit5All he needs now is care and help – through no fault of his own. After meeting him, Pauline has named him Spirit as he is going to need lots of it to carry him through his life.

With the help of Trading Standards and DEFRA who Home Counties Shih Tzu Rescue are very grateful to for having pulled out all the stops to help move him to a safe quarantine kennels closer to Pauline’s rescue operation. There is also a huge thank you to Ryslip Quarantine Kennels (Bracknell, Berkshire), Liz Cartledge and her team are going to be taking care of him for until early Jan 2010 when he will be released back to Home Counties Shih Tzu Rescue.

This is the final story of Spirit who came to live with me after leaving quarantine.

After visiting Spirit every week while he was in quarantine it was a pleasure and relief to do the journey for the last time, bringing him home to start his rehabilitation. During his short existence he had only known kennel life.
After a few weeks he began to settle into his new life and he mixed well with all my other dogs. The next stage for him was castration which my vet did (all dogs that come into the rescue are spayed or castrated at the correct time).

After he had spent about six months with me I started noticing some odd things about him. His walking was becoming slower even though he was eager to go out. Also his glands were enlarged. I took him to the vet to see if he could throw some light on his condition. He was given antibiotics for what the vet thought could be an infection, but I was not convinced. We just had to wait and see what would happen after finishing the course of antibiotics.

I continued to monitor Spirit closely over the next couple of weeks. I realised things were not improving as his behaviour was strange when trying to eat and drink. He began sitting down while he was eating, which is not normal. My friend suggested I lay on the floor to watch what was happening. I was amazed as it revealed he could not get his tongue to reach the water. (These symptoms were so similar to those my husband had suffered from over the last 8 years. The condition is called muscular atrophy).

So it was back to the vet as Spirit's glands were still enlarged too. I ran the symptoms and my theory past my vet. We knew that Spirit was suffering from a degenerative disease and, after much discussion, we made the very difficult decision to put him to sleep, to save him from further suffering. It was so sad as he was not even two years old and such a kind loving boy!!!

Months later I attended a workshop with Margrit Coates, a renowned animal healer and communicator, who recommended a book called "The Canine Thyroid Epidemic" by Jean Dodds, an American vet. On reading this I discovered that the possible cause of Spirit's condition could have been that he had a low immune system. Then, when he was taken into quarantine at fourteen weeks old, he was given multiple vaccinations (rabies etc.) The high dose of chemicals in these was too much for his immune system to handle and resulted in the serious problems in his body, starting with the muscular issues.

There are enormous lessons for us to learn from this. Shih-Tzu-Rescue-22
When innoculating your puppies please make sure they are fit and well and have reached the right age for their vaccinations. You can always wait for another week (a lot of badly bred pups are not always the age you are told when purchasing). You can also give a homeopathic nosode first then the alupathic one after. Watching your own dog closely and learning its behaviour can help you to pick up any problems quickly and keep it fit and healthy throughout its life.

For more information go to which has been written by a vet in Somerset. Well worth a read!!