Spaniel finally finds forever home after being abandoned in 'appalling' state in County Durham

Flora 'will never be cold or lonely again' after being rehomed by Dogs Trust Darlington
Flora 'will never be cold or lonely again' after being rehomed by Dogs Trust Darlington -Credit:Dogs Trust Darlington

A "happy and playful" young dog has had a happy ending after being found abandoned in such an "appalling" state that she would not have survived another week.

Cocker spaniel Flora was handed in to the Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council Animal Welfare Service in January by a member of the public. The team were "shocked" by her emaciated condition, with the one-year-old pup weighing just half the ideal weight for her breed and so weak that she was struggling to stand.

Originally given the name Thelma by staff, the poorly dog was whisked away to Clifton Lodge Vets where she was found to be very anaemic and had a skin condition resulting in hair loss and crusty skin around her eyes. Fortunately, weeks of dedicated care and vet treatment, Thelma went from strength to strength and her "incredibly loving" nature soon shone through.

Flora with her new owner Lesley
Flora with her new owner Lesley -Credit:Dogs Trust Darlington

The affectionate spaniel, who loved spending time in the office with the Animal Welfare staff who had helped nurse her back to health, was put into the care of Dogs Trust Darlington in February. After a rough start in life, "happy and friendly" Thelma became more confident with the help of plenty of treats and toys - and it wasn't long before she found her forever home.

Thelma was adopted by Lesley Brown from Hartlepool, who works at Clifton Lodge Vets, later in February. After seeing the pup at her worst when she first arrived, Lesley said she instantly knew Thelma was the dog for her. Now with her new name Flora, the spaniel has settled into her new family along with her owner and two other doggie pals, Luna and Bruno.

"It was love at first sight for me," Lesley shared. "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 added. "She's now up to her ideal weight of 13.7kg and her beautiful coat has fully grown back."

Flora is now deservedly "living her best life" in her new family, Lesley said. "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."

Alex Hennessey, Manager at Dogs Trust Darlington Rehoming Centre, added: "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."

And 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."