Member of the month – September 21

Name: Cath
Area: Essex
Dog: Gusdog

I grew up in a house of dogs from day one. Chihuahuas, a great dane, setters, German shepherds, a sheltie, and a variety of other breeds. 

When I left home, I got two cats that had been abandoned at the vets, but I needed a dog back in my life. So, I got two westies. Life got noisy but a lot more fun. Time moved on and I took on a third dog: a four-year-old westie that needed a home. 

Skip forward to 2012 and we decided that three wasn’t enough, so we got a great dane, Kiva. The following year we lost Molly, my nearly 10-year-old westie, suddenly to a cancerous tumour.

We were devastated. Two months later Gusdog came home. He was special from the start, a bit naughty (he took 15 months to house train!) but he was loving and smart. 

We started doing flyball when he was a year old which he truly loved and then the following year we started agility. He was living his best life. We did obedience training at our local dog training club, and we went through and passed the three levels of good citizen in nine months, grabbing ourselves the gold in October 2017. 

Gusdog is such a people dog, I thought he would love to go into a care home and share some of his joy for life so we found Canine Concern. We had our assessment in February 2018 and were just about ready to go when he ran, full speed and headfirst into a tree, blowing up an eyeball. 

After recovery of an eye removal, we were reassessed, and he passed again but then he developed an infection in his ‘good’ eye and that was then removed as he was in pain and had lost all sight. So, by May 2018 Gusdog was completely blind. 

Another assessment and we were off. 

We go to a regular home fortnightly, and they can’t wait to see Gus. 

Recently Gus’s siblings, Kiva the great dane (now 9) and Lenny the giant schnauzer (5) have also officially joined Canine Concern, have been assessed and are taking part in fortnightly visits.  

The residents love seeing the dogs; the bigger ones are great for the people that aren’t particularly mobile as they don’t have to move too much to get a cuddle from the dogs. 

Gus raises over £800 a month, every month, for the UK Boston Terrier Rescue and last month we decided to do something specifically for Canine Concern, so we did a Marathon in a Month. 

We raised over £500 for Canine Concern which beat our target by £300! 

In September we are doing a sponsored walk with the care home where we will share our sponsor money between the home’s activities’ fund and Canine Concern. 

Gus still does agility and still gets a clear round occasionally. He also has his own facebook and Instagram pages (and has double the number of friends I have). 

We recently brought home a baby Boston called Link and in time I’m hoping he will be a Canine Concern dog too.

Canine Concern Comments

Cathy and Gusdog have been an amazing team for Canine Concern. We were devastated when we heard about his unfortunate accident just as he had joined us. Often a disability can change a dog’s temperament as they feel insecure and vulnerable, but not so for Gusdog. He has been amazing to get through two operations and still stay very solid and reliable.

This is credit to Cath’s patience and dedication. Since 2005 she set up her dog boarding and walking company and even organised a dog show a few years ago, managing to promote and raise funds for Canine Concern. They make an amazing dog and owner team, working hard to promote Canine Concern as well as Boston Terrier Rescue and still enjoying activities and life.