DARWIN... is a fine-looking boy, we think about two years old. He arrived in Dunboyne pound as a stray a couple of weeks ago and unfortunately fell ill, probably from something he picked up in the pound.  It was touch and go for a few days but we’re delighted to report that Darwin is now on the mend - although very skinny and in need of lots of TLC.

Darwin is currently in foster-kennels in Ireland where he gets on fine with the other dogs, even when 15 of them are all out together - but more than that we don’t know at the mo.

More info and pix to come!

UPDATE 10/5/08

Oh Darwin ... you’ve given us a terrible dilemma. This beautiful boy who very nearly died two weeks ago has many strengths - active but not remotely hyper, obedient and affectionate.  But although he is good with dogs smaller than him, in his current situation (where he is sharing with a lot of dogs) it turns out he’s not so great with some dogs bigger than him, male or female. We suspect this is because he’s been frightened or attacked by a bigger dog. Would he be better in a proper home environment? Very possibly as many are, but again, we can’t be sure.

We have a basic rule, here, that we don’t take dogs that have any hint of a temperament problem. But if Darwin stays in Ireland, his future looks pretty bleak and we don’t want to give up on him just yet.  Also, he’s such a nice boy in every other respect and his recall is already good, which makes him a great candidate for change. 

Darwin will need an experienced home who will relish the challenge required to save this dog’s life. We will, of course, offer the full support of our wonderful behaviourist, Lez Graham.

This boy has already been through so much. Is there anyone out there who could help...?

UPDATE 18/5/08

Well, some better news on Darwin - he’s fantastic with children and would be the perfect dog for someone who could take a dog to work as he settles brilliantly, happy to just be with you. We also think the aggression is linked to being kenneled and that it will resolve once in his own home where he can build up confidence before a careful re-introduction to other dogs ,

The pix don’t show quite how small he is  but this handsome young man is  much smaller than we thought : a pint-sized retriever x!

UPDATE 13/6/08

Darwin arrived in the UK last week. And unfortunately, there’s some very bad news.  Worried by the fact that every lymph gland in his body is swollen, we took him  the vet and and, as feared, he has lymphoma.  After all this young chap has been through, it is very sad.

Darwin’s prognosis is very poor so he is no longer up for adoption and will stay with us for as long as he is enjoying life.  He is a real sweetie... gets on very well with all the resident dogs here,  loves everyone he meets and is a well-behaved, cuddly, happy  boy. He is eating well (indeed has put on over a kilo in the past week),  loving his walks and of course is being spoilt rotten.

We will update as and when. In the meantime,  keep this little man in your thoughts... Miracles do sometimes happen.

UPDATE 21/6/08

Well no miracles this time. We said goodbye to sweet Darwin this eve. He has had a lovely two weeks -  he’s wolfed his food, enjoyed his walks on Salisbury Plain and adored his cuddles.  He’s also had very special privileges in the past week - allowed to sleep on the bed with us, which he thought was bliss. But this evening, for the first time, he looked weary. He ate his dinner but only after persuasion .  It’s a gut feeling that tells you when it’s time, and about 10.30pm we called out our vet, Edward. Bless Darwin, he got up and wagged his tail in greeting, but then he sank down again and closed his eyes. I have never, ever seen a dog slip away so very gently and we are happy we got the timing just right. But it is so very sad to say goodbye to this lovely young man. He has been a real gent and we will miss him greatly.

(added 5/5/08)