Christmas Caution: Keeping Canine Companions Safe – A Retired Police Dog’s Narrow Escape

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dog wearing Christmas hat

This festive season, a heartwarming tale emerges as a stark reminder for dog owners. A retired police dog, after a close brush with danger involving a roast chicken bone, has spurred a charity’s campaign for pet safety during the holidays.

The Thin Blue Paw Foundation, dedicated to the welfare of both active and retired police dogs across the UK, is championing a vigilant approach this Christmas. Amid the joy and celebration, homes brim with potential dangers for our four-legged friends.

Kieran Stanbridge, co-founder and trustee of the charity, emphasizes the festive hazards lurking in our homes. “While Christmas decks our halls with joy, it also brings hidden perils for pets. Tinsel, chocolates, and poisonous plants like poinsettias and mistletoe are but a few examples. It’s crucial to keep an eye on your pets during this time,” he cautions.

He adds, “Our holiday treats – chocolates, mince pies, and Christmas pudding – are delightful for us but toxic for dogs. Moreover, leftovers, especially meat bones, pose a significant risk.”

The story of Enzo, an eight-year-old German Shepherd, illustrates this danger. Enzo, a former member of the Cheshire Police and a veteran of Police Scotland, retired in 2020 due to hip dysplasia. Last winter, his retirement was almost cut short when he ingested a chicken bone, leading to a dire emergency.

Joy Bennett, Enzo’s adoptive owner and a police worker, recounts the harrowing experience. “Enzo’s curiosity led him to the kitchen bin. Despite our precautions, a forgotten chicken bone ended up there. After days of seeming unwell, he began vomiting blood, prompting an urgent vet visit.”

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The veterinary team performed scans and X-rays under sedation and successfully removed the lodged bone. Enzo’s recovery included antibiotics and pain relief, but the ordeal left a significant financial burden on his family.

The Thin Blue Paw Foundation stepped in to alleviate this burden, a testament to their commitment to retired police dogs. “These dogs, having served valiantly, often face health challenges and are uninsurable. It’s our mission to support them and their owners in such crises,” Kieran from the Foundation shares.

The Foundation supports 390 dogs in the UK, offering aid not just during the festive season but year-round.

This Christmas, they aim to raise funds for these canine heroes:

  • £10 for a week’s medication
  • £50 for a hydrotherapy session
  • £100 for a specialist vet consultation

Joy expresses immense gratitude, “The £997 vet bill was staggering. Thanks to Thin Blue Paw, we can now enjoy Christmas with Enzo, keeping a vigilant eye on his surroundings.”

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Photo by Rhaúl Velasquez Alva on Unsplash

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