Emaciated spaniel found abandoned in Stockton makes amazing recovery and finds forever home

Emaciated Spaniel Thelma was found abandoned weighing just 7kgs
Emaciated Spaniel Thelma was found abandoned weighing just 7kgs -Credit:Dogs Trust

Life is well and truly on the up for a young Cocker Spaniel who was found abandoned in an appalling state.

Thelma , who is thought to be aged around one, was half the ideal weight for her breed when she was discovered in January this year. Now fully recovered after weeks of dedicated care and vet treatment, she is now lapping up all the love from her forever family after being adopted from Dogs Trust Darlington.

The emaciated and lethargic spaniel was found by a member of the public in Hardwick on January 6 and was handed into Stockton Council's Animal Welfare Service stray dog reception. The team were shocked by her condition as she was so weak and struggling to stand.

Thelma was taken to Clifton Lodge Vets for assessment including blood tests which showed she was very anaemic, but results indicated no signs of an underlying health condition. Thelma weighted just 7.1kgs, with the average weight of a healthy Cocker Spaniel being between 12 and 16kgs. In addition to being extremely underweight Thelma had a matted, unkept coat and a skin condition resulting in hair loss and crusty skin around her eyes.

Thelma was bathed, fed often with small portions, and treated for her skin problem and waxy ears. With every passing day, Thelma's strength and condition improved, putting on 1kg in weight in just over two weeks. As she regained her strength, her incredibly loving nature shone through. She sought affection from everyone she met and enjoyed spending time in the office with the Animal Welfare staff who so lovingly cared for her.

Thelma was transferred into the care of Dogs Trust Darlington on February 2 for rehoming. Staff discovered when a tasty treat was offered, Thelma was a happy, friendly girl who would become more confident looking to make friends. She loved to show off her toys by carrying them around and her affectionate nature was evident to all.

On February 20, Thelma was adopted by Lesley Brown from Hartlepool who works at Clifton Lodge Vets. Lesley saw Thelma at her worst and knew she was the dog for her. Now in addition to having a new family, which includes two doggie pals; Luna the Bull Mastiff and Bruno the crossbreed, she also has a new name – Flora.

Thelma was found abandoned weighing just 7kgs -Credit:Dogs Trust
Thelma was found abandoned weighing just 7kgs -Credit:Dogs Trust

Lesley said: "It was love at first sight for me. When she initially came into the vets, they said she wouldn't have survived another week which was so upsetting. I can get quite emotional when she is sitting on my knee, thinking of what she has been through, but she will never be cold or lonely again. She's now up to her ideal weight of 13.7kg and her beautiful coat has fully grown back.

"Flora has fitted right into the family and is living her best life. She is such a happy and playful girl; she loves playing tug of war and running around with Luna. We have a big toy box for the dogs which she is always in picking out toys one by one. We spoil her but she deserves every second of it."

Thelma with owner Lesley Brown -Credit:Dogs Trust
Thelma with owner Lesley Brown -Credit:Dogs Trust

Alex Hennessey, Manager at Dogs Trust Darlington Rehoming Centre said: "We are thrilled by how far Flora has come. To see her now, happy, healthy and loved, it's a tribute to everyone who was involved in her care and her wonderful resilience.

"Flora's story shows how essential it is that we have strong working relationships with our Local Authority Animal Welfare Teams. Our work with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is a fantastic example of a multi-agency approach to improving the welfare of dogs in our area. We work closely with the team supporting with the rehoming of around 50 dogs each year that were originally found in the Stockton-on-Tees catchment area.

"It's sad that so many dogs come into the care of the Local Authority Animal Welfare Team but it's comforting to know that the team work tirelessly to do all that they can for the dogs and by working with Dogs Trust, we can give many of them second chances in life by finding them new homes."

Carolyn Nice, Director of Adults, Health and Wellbeing at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: "We are absolutely delighted to see the progress of Flora and it is so pleasing to know what a happy and healthy life she now has. Our Animal Welfare team deserve enormous credit for the work they put in to nurse her back to health – and thank you also to our partners at Dogs Trust who we work very closely with. Of course, if you are thinking about getting a dog then we would encourage anyone to think about rehoming a dog from Dogs Trust.

"A lot of our residents have been asking for an update on this story, so it is very pleasing to be able to share such a positive outcome."