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Fudge - our April Fool, a cantankerous old g*t who brought so many smiles and tears!

I will never forget picking up Fudge…..I will never forget our journey.... I will never forget Fudge.


 

Picture this, a few months prior I had had a bit of a debate with Katy, a trustee from The Red Foundation (TRF) about the existence of black (purebred) dachshunds, I mean pure black, not brindle etc. Turns out as much as I hate to admit it they do exist! (Nope, I'm not anti them, just had never seen one that wasn't a cross!) She’s never let that one drop…come on I can’t always be right!  (She’s never let me forget it either!)

A few months later Kelly, another TRF colleague asked me to help with a previously adopted little guy who, for reasons I won’t share, couldn’t remain in the home he’d been in for a year. She told me he was a long haired black dachshund, on wheels, an older guy of about 11…ish. Initially I thought of Katy - she would relish in this! But of course I said yes, I mean what's one more? I had quite the selection of dogs with medical needs.



I mustn’t forget to mention Jo here, she deserves the credit.  She picked Fudge up from his then adopter without hesitation, and had hoped he could stay permanently.  Unfortunately her other dog was unsettled by Fudge’s presence and sadly he couldn’t stay.  But in those few weeks she had some issues to deal with.  He had green pus in his ears, open sores on his legs and a urine infection. The vet was pushing euthanasia because of his paralysis. She held strong, and treated all of the issues carefully and kindly and she had fallen in love with him. Fudge wasn’t the easiest of patients, but she persisted to resolve these issues. He may have only been there for a short time, but there was a lot of love shared between them. I admire how quickly they took him on and learnt about him 'on the job.'


On the way back from Scotland I arrived at Jo’s and met Fudge….expecting, a longhaired…black.....dachshund.  This was his description on his vet notes too!  You can see....from the pictures….there’s nothing longhaired or dachshund about him, but he was black!  He was quite clearly a patterdale!  (Cue me sticking my tongue out at Katy!) But, he will forever be known as the pretend dachshund....and I always whispered when saying he was a ....shhhhhh.... patterdale!


Anyhow, I brought him home and he just slotted straight in with the other dogs.  But….OH MY GOD! The BARKING!  You know barking is my favourite topic, but this little guy tested me!  For 3 months he would bark at the slightest thing, even the draft of someone wagging their tail nearby. I won’t lie, he almost gave me a breakdown!   This did reduce, and with the help of some herbs to support dementia for a few weeks this dramatically reduced.  The only sound that really set him off was doors banging……and remember…..I have a teenager! 


With his history, and extended periods in kennels it was easy to understand why he was so vocal and sensitive to noises, after many years of this a lot of the behaviour was engrained.

But, to reduce his barking by say 90% at his age, I was happy with, and the banging doors….made Kieron be more careful when moving around – win win!


Anyhow, Fudge had been in a belly band, something I prefer not to use unless absolutely necessary.  So when I whipped this off, after a few days I monitored that his you know what didn’t go back into its you know where!  Off to the vets we popped, and the poor sod had ulcers up ‘it’ and sores.  It was covered in grit and hair, and up the covered bit too and couldn’t retract.


I remember the then team of TRF in hysterics tormenting me on what I had to do to resolve this. It was dubbed “willygate!”  All the things I’ve had to do with dogs for their care, I have never ever had to wash a willy, let alone apply lube!  I mean really! I thought I'd done all the gross stuff, but clearly someone was needing entertaining!  At the time, Spesh was becoming an adolescent and as someone who generally has smooths and girls …well– anyone with longs will be giggling at my situation at this point! It was....well....willygate!


I was sent off to the supermarket, and embarrassingly cruised the aisle for KY Jelly….stop laughing!! It gets worse!


Thinking, well I don’t want to shop for this regularly I picked up 4 boxes!  I went to the self service (stop it) in embarrassment and quickly hop footed it out of the store....or tried to!  I should mention it was near to Christmas so I’d bought some of those ridiculously overpriced alcohol gift sets too and my mums shopping so I had a trolley!  Anyway, I try to shoot out of the doors and yep the alarms went off!  Security appeared and at this point I had completely forgotten ‘the stuff!’ We checked the alcohol but I’d done them, and then the guard went through the bags, “oh, its this he says.” I hung my head….”there’s 3 more boxes.”  Cue the awkward pause and raised eyebrow from the guard.  (It gets worse!)  Yep I said it..... “its not for me its for the dog!” Cue an even bigger “I carried a water melon moment!” (If you don't understand that quote, you haven't lived!) I rarely get embarrassed....but I was red as a beetroot! I really shouldn’t have said that, it made it so much worse.  So I quickly blurted all about Fudge.  And the security guard then told me all about his boxing cat!  Yep, that day is seared into my memories. 


Anyway, we resolved willygate, and the sores.  He wore a belly band at night and thoroughly enjoyed his ‘pampering.’  A referral to neuro suggested he had an enlarged prostate, which may be the big C.  One to monitor, but nothing definitive.  One day thankfully, our acupuncture vet who is mobile btw met Fudge whilst she was here to see Fudge.  She pressed a button on Fudges groin, he literally squirted all over her, and his willy went back in its house and remained there, only appearing when he needed a wee!  Interestingly after this he started to regain continence! They were fabulous with him, here's the link, it was so much easier that they came to us to look after Spesh and Fudge: https://www.facebook.com/vandtequineservices


Over the next 2 years we grew. Fudge bit me for trying to clean his ears – note to self, read the vet notes properly for warnings before doing anything with a new dog. 

What the picture doesn't show is whilst I tried to pry my finger out of his mouth, he got me on the other hand too....boy may have been old, but he was quick!


His skin was awful, so another referral to a dermatologist, saw a question mark over skin cancer.  As he was not a young dog, I decided it wouldn’t be fair to subject him to biopsies especially with all his other issues.


I discovered his love for a jacuzzi and even better the hot tub!  This also seemed to help his skin.  Win, Win.

Here's a video of him at the start of the year....started it with a waggy tail!

https://fb.watch/rgMQ6MHhxU/. He loved the shower being jetted onto him and moved into the spray. Definitely NOT a dachshund!


He had a passion and art for swimming, even with just 2 properly working legs. His tail would work like a rudder, and sometimes he'd just wallow and enjoy floating.

And he grew into the most affectionate dog you could wish for.  Every night he would sleep in my arms.  Every day he’d sit next to me on the sofa and 'help' me study, or have a snuggle. Towards the last 6 months he'd make a point of climbing onto my lap....even if the laptop was in the way!


He started trying to stand up without support, doing it more and more and even trying to step and after several sessions of acupuncture started wagging his tail, and then wagging his tail in context rather than as an automatic tick.



Over the last few months he started becoming very demonstrative towards the other dogs, especially little Popi.  Washing her ears became a regular thing.

There was some speculation over lymphoma in the later days, mostly due to a suspicious lump.  He was absolutely fine in himself otherwise bar a urine infection which was treated promptly.


He then started cuddling with the other dogs, I suppose that should have been a clue.

On a phone call a week before I went away, I did comment on how small he seemed.  I’d never seen him as small before. He was just larger than life.


On Monday 1st April, April Fools, my mum called me and told me he’d passed in his sleep.  The other dogs had been washing him and I’d like to think they were trying to bring him back, or were saying goodbye.  Around the time of this happening I’d got up early and was watching the sunrise across an ocean.


This sunrise:

I felt so guilty at not being with him.  I know we all want them to go this way, and we do, but it doesn’t stop the doubt creeping in. Selfishly I wish I was holding him, but at least I know it was peaceful and on his terms.  I just thought he’d live forever, he was so loud in life, I’d never considered he’d pass quietly.


A few hours after the call, the only bee I’d seen appeared under the umbrella, it was huge, it hovered about a bit and then left.  I am very spiritual, and I like to think he was letting me know he was ok. It gave me a sense of peace.  I was very fortunate that I was away with my best friend (as well as Kieron) who offered that strength at that time.  I was already emotionally weak having lost Popi and Lyka within the last 2 weeks), it was a bit much for anyone to cope with.


Learning from Fudge

What can we all learn from Fudge? So, so much. I’ve seen derogatory comments about dogs in wheels, and disabled dogs and comments made against their carers, calling them selfish.  I’ve seen just how judgmental people can be.  I used to get really defensive.  But, in honesty, I used to be one of those people when I was younger.  That was before I’d met and engaged with disabled dogs. I was ignorant to it.   Once I met a dog on wheels, my feelings changed quickly, an instant life lesson. I realised dogs live in the moment, they don’t care about the past or the future, but the right now!  If they are happy and pain free, and they have someone able to take care of them, why can’t they live a full life – even if it is different?

He was a legend in his wheels, I have never seen a dog do speedy handbrake turns downhill.  Katy thinks fondly of the day she came to pick up Lydia and we met with all the dogs, he decided to follow her up the steepest possible sandy slope and she did need to push him uphill.  That had us laughing for days, and still brings a smile to our faces.


He had so much zest for life, loved going for walks on the beach, loved the attention his wheels brought him and being close to his people.  Rolling in fox poop was challenging admittedly, he would frequently try this, and then just lie on his back upside down….in the crap…waiting for a rescuer!  Sometimes he’d try to go up a step and end up positioned in the meerkat position.  But again he’d just let us know he was stuck and services would be resumed!


Yes, his loud nature was challenging but we got there.  He had a huge personality and just wanted to be loved.  His former life had molded him into who he was, but the things such as his ears and care evolved over time where he trusted me to help him. He learnt having his ears scratched and rubbed was the best thing ever and even featured on a few videos to help people struggling with handling.  I had planned to do more of these videos, but hadn’t considered we’d be low on time.

Here's a link to the last video I did with Fudge, its an incredibly important theme for any of us, especially those living with dogs with additional needs:


I can never think of Fudge sadly, he brought so many giggles, to so many of us and hopefully you too.  My cantankerous old fool, it was fitting he passed on April Fools, his way of trying to make light of a situation I guess.


For everyone who has donated to TRF, you contributed to his acupuncture treatment, and to his medical care.  Without you TRF couldn’t be a lifeline to dogs like Fudge.  It shows just how important your support is to rescues.  Without you, they couldn’t do it.

I’d also like to say, if you wanted to foster or adopt a dog with medical needs, whilst you do open your heart up to heartbreak, the time caring for them, no matter how short gives you a lifetime of love.  We all have to start somewhere, none of us were born with “knowing” how to…..but you learn, you make mistakes and you find a rhythm.  It is so incredibly rewarding once you can see past the illness, and it is incredibly good for the soul. 

 

Fudge was loved through his life, but due to circumstances it was a different type of love, by many people.  Despite the recommendations of euthanasia, a person who couldn’t look after themselves fought for his beloved pet, and loved him in the only way they could.  Whilst porkpies for meals weren’t ideal, and he didn’t get the right support with his IVDD, this owner did their very best because they loved him. Loved him so much they realised Fudge needed more than they can give.  To that person, thank you for fighting for him and loving him.  I hope if you read this, or someone reads this to you, I hope you find peace in knowing that you made the right decision for Fudge and that he was loved to the end. It was an honour to be part of his story, I hope you are well and have found a new friend to care for.


To those who brought him to us, Kelly, Jo, Social Services....thank you. And to all of you, be warm in knowing you played a part in his journey and so many others, there were many tears shed when the news came, but hopefully this blog brings back the smiles.


……it is ever so quiet today.



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