East Midlands Dog Rescue (EMDR), based at Pingle Farm in Enderby, has been successfully rescuing and re-homing dogs in the Leicestershire area for the past 20 years. Run by a small group of like-minded volunteers, the charity aims to provide a “safe haven” for dogs in need. Although based in Leicestershire; EMDR now takes in dogs from across the country, working closely alongside other charities to provide help whenever they can.
Dogs come into the rescue for all different reasons, some are pound dogs who are hours away from being put to sleep, some are badly injured and neglected and require urgent veterinary attention, some have suffered terrible abuse. Ex racing greyhounds are also to be found at EMDR waiting patiently for their forever homes. All of the dogs that pass through the charity will be neutered, vaccinated and micro chipped before being re homed.
EMDR is also home to a number of sanctuary dogs, those dogs who are considered too old to re-home, or have long term medical conditions; these dogs are provided with all the love and care that they need, enabling them to live out their twilight years in comfort.
When asked to choose a dog whose story embodies the ethos of EMDR, I had a huge task on my hands as every dog that passes through the charity has his or her own story to tell. It is East Midlands Dog Rescue that hope to provide the happy ending to each one of these stories. One dog, however, touched so many with his courage and determination to survive against all the odds. This is the story of Otis.
Otis had a very bad start to his life. Born with a severe abnormality affecting both of his front legs, whereby both of his front legs were bent almost double, Otis was unable to walk upright at all and managed to just about crawl everywhere. Otis also had a severe case of mange which had left him virtually bald, with large areas of his skin covered in raw, itchy skin. He was also full of fleas and worms and was severely undernourished.
Otis’s previous owners no longer wanted him and decided that the best way to deal with him was to throw him into a lake at a local beauty spot and allow him to drown. Despite his badly deformed legs, Otis managed to swim to the side of the lake where he was fished out.
Once in the capable hands of EMDR, he was rushed to the vets. Sandy, who runs the rescue, feared the worst for little Otis because he was in such a poor state and she was worried that the vet may have felt that his problems were too many to solve; but one look at his poor bewildered face was enough to secure his future.
Otis subsequently had an x-ray to see what could be done to help his poor deformed legs. After a lot of research and late nights, one of the vets in charge of his case found a tiny article written in a veterinary journal describing Otis’ condition perfectly. Did he require extensive orthopaedic surgery and cutting edge technology to sort his legs out? No, what Otis needed was to “let nature take its course” and with time, patience and a lot of love, it was predicted that Otis’ legs would eventually straighten. The vet in charge of Otis had to take a huge leap of faith to take this path and also a lot of faith was going to be put into Otis and a strong belief in his on-going courage.
After spending a weekend with the vet at his house, Otis finally started to discover that maybe life wasn’t so bad after all and maybe he would like to “stick around”.
Otis was returned to EMDR to begin his amazing journey to recovery. As the days went by, everyone watched Otis with fingers crossed and baited breath. Every day that went by he grew stronger and little by little his legs started to straighten. How he managed to get himself around still amazes all who watched him progress. This dog’s determination and inner strength reduced many of the people who came to visit him to tears.
Weeks went by and although progress had been made, the concern was that Otis was still struggling to walk upright and thoughts once again turned to possible corrective surgery. However, Otis was full of surprises and virtually overnight several weeks after he was rescued, his legs straightened completely.
Otis is now a very much loved family dog, having secured himself a wonderful “forever home”. He has grown into the most handsome Saluki Lurcher and now has legs that would make a supermodel jealous.
Otis taught us all a lesson about true courage against adversity .He never gave up his fight for life and what a life to be saved.
He has touched the hearts and minds of all who came to know him.
Otis is one example of the faith that EMDR have in each and every dog that finds him or herself in rescue. Every dog deserves a chance at life and happiness.