Showcase April/May 2023

Name: Flake

Here is Flake, our mischievous and loving chocolate Labrador.

April is an emotional month for Canine Concern as well as for me personally. There are lots of good anniversaries as well as some not so good.

However, I would like to concentrate this showcase on Flake, our chocolate Labrador.

The story starts with Cadbury, my previous chocolate Labrador and first of my dogs to be a Canine Concern dog. He was assessed at nine months (our minimum age) and passed with flying colours. He was very laid back and friendly. He was relaxed in the care home environment and gave many of the elderly residents, and later school children, lots of love and attention. He passed away in October 2018, at the age of just eleven, with laryngeal paralysis which didn’t respond to treatments. It was very sad, but he had a good life and made so many people happy, including my mother when she was alive.

Last year we decided we would like another chocolate Labrador and so our search began. We wanted to find a dog who would hopefully become a Canine Concern dog like Cadbury, Savannah, and Konnor (our other dogs). We looked at several litters, but I was not comfortable with them, then finally we found Flake’s litter, just 220 miles away in Derbyshire! When I went to see them, after lots of conversations with the breeder, Sharon, and numerous videos and photos, Flake crawled over to me and rested on my legs. This is the one I thought. June last year we picked her up and our journey with her began.

She has always been very loving, but during the first few months she seemed to drink and wee more than normal. The vet said dogs are different and not to worry. However, after another vet visit when I had become concerned about her chewing her belly (thinking she might have a blockage) the vet found she had two deformed kidneys which she was probably born with. It was giving her some bladder issues and we were told it will lead to a shorter life, possibly only months! We had lots of tests and are still having quarterly blood and urine tests.  In January, these showed her going from stage one kidney failure into stage two. I was devastated and looked into more ways to help her. We now give her the occasional boiled egg instead of meat protein and stay away from any processed food containing toxins which healthy kidneys would normally deal with. She also has supplements to keep her urinary system as healthy as possible and her immune system strong.

Watching what she eats is very difficult; she is a typical Labrador puppy who likes to eat or chew on anything, whether edible or not. She would be a nightmare on any care home or school visits, with food crumbs and other more dangerous things on the floor. She will normally drop things when I catch her and doesn’t mind me taking things away from her but would not at the moment be an ideal care dog. While I was away on holidays last week, she decided that Brian wasn’t giving her enough of the cranberry and echinacea supplement. She usually has one tablet a day. She decided to pinch not just one almost full pot, but a new pot containing sixty tablets! When Brian told me I immediately rang the vets. They advised contacting the animal poison line. They gave me the telephone number which I passed onto Brian to call. Brian said they were very helpful and checked the ingredients. They concluded she should be fine with just a possible upset tummy.

The Animal Poison Line is run by the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) and is the only 24-hour specialised emergency telephone service in the UK dedicated to helping pet owners who are worried their pet may have been exposed to something harmful or poisonous. Based on the information owners provide, their vets and scientists will be able to tell the owner if they need to attend the vet. It is a triage service, and certainly worth the £35 call fee for peace of mind. Telephone number: 01202 509000.

Flake has been drinking a lot more since I have come home but luckily doesn’t appear to be unwell or affected by eating the tablets (as well as Brian’s reading glasses, numerous water bottles, her food bowl, and many other objects).

Just some of the items Flake has attempted to eat include a pair of reading glasses, tub of treats and a water bottle.

Maybe one day she will stop bouncing so much and not be so naughty so she can be a Canine Concern dog, but maybe she will just be our fun loving, happy and mischievous pet.

Having a puppy can be a challenge as well as fun, and having a Flake is a big challenge but with lots of fun and laughter too.     

Valerie Fillery
Canine Concern CIO