22/6/2006 – Billy has sadly had to be put to sleep. Sleep tight, Billy.
Fawn and cream terrier Billy was found dumped in a multi-storey car park. He was very sore – possibly having been hit by a car or kicked – and needed medical treatment, which he received at the Irish rescue that took him in. When he arrived in foster care with the Oldies Club, it emerged that poor old Billy-boy had been used to a very difficult life.
Estimated at around eight years old, Billy arrived in his foster home a terrified, exhausted and confused little dog. He had been neutered, and had some dental work done, but his ears and eyes were not too good, his joints were stiff and his wheezy lungs and skinny, wasted back legs suggested a long period of confinement in a damp or dusty environment, perhaps a garage.
His coat was starchy and sticky, stained with something like motor oil and his claws were overgrown. Poor Billy had evidently had a rotten time of things, and was a sensitive, needy little man, seriously in need of some TLC.
A sweet, loving little dog, desperate for a cuddle and a kind word, Billy unfortunately displayed a high level of food aggression – attacking the other dogs in his foster home for food, and trying to defend the kitchen bin. Obviously, he had known hunger, and could not be blamed for this behaviour – few of us can imagine what it’s like not to know where the next meal is coming from.
Although fine with people and food – if a little ill-mannered! – it seemed that Billy had been used to fighting with other dogs for his meals, and regarded this as “nothing personal” – he would try and make friends with the resident dogs afterwards… not something they understood!
Billy’s behaviour improved dramatically over the following week, but due to irreconcilable differences with the resident terrier (not Billy’s fault!), he moved to an alternative foster home.
Billy now sleeps in a covered outdoor kennel – his room-mate is Tuppence, the Irish collie, and his new very best friend! ;-) – so that he can work more easily on his behaviour around food.
So far, Billy is getting on famously with the resident dogs and all the other fosters…. although Martha the Rottweiler was a little confused by this:
Billy loves children and is not remotely aggressive or snappy. The results of what has obviously been a pretty horrible past will be worked on in his foster home – his back legs are already improving and, with luck, his lungs will be better as he gets used to a healthier environment.
He has had a bath to get rid of the last of the pong and oils –
Billy was glad to have the dog crate to retreat to when the humiliation of water got too much! ;-)
– and now seems to feel a lot better. Billy certainly now has a spring in his step that wasn’t there before!
His food aggression seems to have all but disappeared – Billy is happy to share his food bowl with Tuppence, and does not mind sharing toys and treats with the other dogs.
He has also built up the muscle on his back legs, is breathing better and was recently able to go on a lovely long walk at an Oldies Club meet and greet event. Billy is now displaying his really lovely nature, and his stress symptoms have greatly reduced. :-)
However, sadly, Billy will never be ready for a permanent home. He is a sensitive, delicate little chap who is confused by so many things in life which – coupled with his peripheral vision problems – means he has a tendency to lash out in fear.
The Oldies Club feel that we could not responsibly home Billy, given his difficult history and sensitive nature, unless an incredibly special person with a very special home came along for him… and that could take a very long time!
Realistically, it seems kinder to give Billy a long-term place in foster care, where he will be loved and looked after with people he knows and trusts.
18th July 2005 – Billy update!
This month, Billy has been the proud recipient of a brand-new handmade collar – a forfeit from Oldies Club member Hazel after the OC members’ competition to guess the date that the 100th dog on our site would be rehomed.
Billy certainly looks proud of his new accessory, and stood patiently to have it buckled on, as if he knew the size and pattern had been chosen specifically for him! ;-)
Billy is doing well in his long-term foster home, although he still cocks his leg indoors, is prone to biting when confused and cannot really be taught how to curb his behaviour due to his sight and hearing loss. Despite these quirks, Billy is happy and loved – he enjoys having a potter around the garden in the company of the other dogs and he is always pleased to see his foster family.
He loves to be picked up and cuddled and to have the side of his face kissed. He enjoys his food and short walks, quite often he will wander around with the kids and seems to really like the companionship of ‘little people’.
However, an aura of sadness still surrounds Billy; everybody notices it. Sometimes he will stand and day dream and there is something about the look in his eye that speaks of a broken heart. As foster mum Kelly says, “I just know that no matter how much I try to spoil him and love him now, it can never make up for whatever it is that he has been through”.
Update – 12th October 2005: Billy is available for rehoming! :-)
After much careful consideration, we have decided to make Billy available for rehoming to a very experienced, capable and dedicated owner. Are you the kind, patient and compassionate person he needs?
Hats off to Billy – he has made astounding progress since his arrival with the Oldies Club earlier this year. Now much happier with indoor living, Billy loves human contact and company, and has settled most of his issues, although the mental scars of his past are still with him. In light of this, we are now looking for a permanent home for Billy.
The truth is we don’t really expect to find anybody willing to take Billy on as he has some very specialist needs. However, if someone should offer him a chance of a home of his own then we would not hold him back. He is happy in his foster home and will always be cared for here but if truth be told we are sure Billy would prefer a quieter home with a few less dogs in it.
As a result of the fantastic progress Billy has made over the past few months, we feel he could now be responsibly placed in a home environment with very experienced, dedicated owners willing to consider devoting some time and care to this special little lad.
If you think Billy could be the project for you, please take a look at his entry here in Overlooked Oldies or contact Kelly on 01692 598982. You may also like to consider making a donation to help support Billy while he is in our care – which may well be for a long time yet!
Billy is in Norfolk and anyone wanting to offer him a home must essentially visit and spend time with him prior to taking him home so that they really are fully aware of what they are taking on.
Well, we now enter Billy’s ninth month in his foster home. Billy is still acclimatising to ‘real life’ after the false and inhibiting years of his past. He is learning how to become and behave like ‘a dog’. He will never be as normal and carefree as my other dogs and that still saddens me, but in his own way Billy is just as happy as they are now. His confidence is growing, which brings with it its own problems, but it’s worth it to see him respond to situations in a way that shows he is ‘alive’ enough to let us know what he likes and dislikes nowadays.
For instance, since the cold weather came Billy has pretty much taken up root under my computer desk on a quilt…which just so happens to be right near a radiator. My pomeranian Emily likes that quilt too though…there have been turf wars going on over that tatty old quilt for weeks now.
Any of my other brood would get removed from the scene for bad behaviour…but hey, Billy’s had a very hard life and Emily is blind…would you have the heart to scold either of them?! So they get a stern lecture and I organise them at either end of the quilt and explain that there is room for them both, and peace is resumed once more.
Billy and Emily have learned to share!
Billy really is a rewarding little dog. He’s still not fantastically well house trained, but if either me or my kids are in the room he will ask to go out…if we are not he thinks it is ok to go by the door….but that is a huge improvement from the constantly spraying dog that arrived here all those months ago and I can live with that. He adores my kids and really lights up when they enter the room, it does help that it is them that dish out the many, many dog treats that arrived from his internet fan club at Christmas, he loves his food does our Billy.
At the end of January I took Billy and eight of my other dogs to the same walk he came on back in the summer at Thetford Forest. There were loads of people and thirty dogs in all and Billy had a fab time…..being carried for most of the walk by people he gave ‘woe is me, I am a poor old boy’ eyes to….and then he scrounged for everyone’s food at the picnic afterwards, so all in all it was a very ‘Billy’ kind of day.
Sadly, Billy is not doing so well. He collapsed on Friday though he got straight up from it within a few seconds and carried on as normal. He has been gradually losing weight, is even more aggressive than usual and has been eating dog poop.
The prognosis is that Billy has a very slow heart which causes the fainting as he isn’t getting enough oxygen to his brain. To complicate matters his liver isn’t functioning efficiently which means he isn’t absorbing the goodness from his food which explains the weight loss and also means he is hungrier than usual hence the aggression over food. Any medication that could be prescribed for his heart would aggravate his liver condition so basically options are limited.
All we can really do is feed him more (which he is delighted about) and let him live out whatever time he has left until either his health fails or his aggression advances to a level that cannot be safely managed.
Every so often, the Oldies Club comes across a dog like Billy, whose difficult life has left them with medical or behavioural issues that a potential adopter could not be asked to take on, or whose needs are such that no suitable homes are available.
In those cases, we endeavour to offer the dog a lifetime foster placement, ensuring they will be cared for and loved for as long as their quality of life remains undimmed. By clicking on the Paypal link at the top of the page, you can make a donation to help us support these needy dogs; the dogs who need our help most of all.