Hugo came to us during a particular sad time after we lost our 13-year-old
Golden Girl Lulu on Christmas Day 2015. We and our other Golden Ellie felt the
massive gap Lulu had left. In the early part of 2016 I was signed off from
work and with having too much time and thoughts on my hands my fingers
drifted to the IRR page. I had long considered a rescue and felt now was the time.
There looking at me was Hugo. I don’t know what it was but something drew
me towards him and time and time again I went back to read his story. He was
picked up as a stray in Ireland and ended up in the pound. Luckily the
wonderful people at the Carrick shelter contacted IRR who promptly thanks to
Kathryn from IRR took Hugo under their wings. It was clear that Hugo didn’t have
a good start in life, a severe ear infection, mange and an infected anal gland.
What wasn’t clear was that there was something else lurking.
Hugo in the Pound
Once he was in foster in the UK it became clear that something else was not right.
He was not absorbing his food properly and it was extremely painful for him to
go to the toilet. It was a worrying time. Even cancer could not be ruled out.
Luckily after a number of tests it was confirmed that Hugo was suffering
from SIBO – Small intestine overgrowth. No wonder really given his poor
start in life and having been neglected and unloved for so long. Thanks to the
dedication of the IRR and his amazing foster family Hugo received the care
and attention he had been lacking for so long. He was put on Antibiotics,
B12 injections and a special grain free diet. After a few weeks of impatient
waiting we got the green light that Hugo was ready to make the long journey
from Norfolk to Northumberland. Despite not having met him until that moment
we were totally in love with him. It was clear what an amazingly special boy he was.
Despite what was in the past he is the most loving boy anyone could imagine.
We travelled down to Norfolk and collected him in March this year and he never
moved off my lap or complained during the long journey home. He met his new
sister Ellie and then made himself comfortable on the sofa. He slept on our
bed during the first night and never made a noise. It would be a lie to say if
everything went smoothly from day one. Hugo being stray was quick to swipe
food off the worktops and we had to really watch him during our mealtimes in case
he tried to swipe food. Having said that it took very little time for him to get out of it.
He is a sweet, bright boy who is eager to please. It took him and Ellie a few weeks to
get used to each other but apart from the occasional growl which we put down
as Hugo’s protection mode from a previous life everything was fine. It was very clear
that people have hurt him in the past. He is sensitive in certain areas and will cry at
the slightest touch. This has now settled down and we think he knows he is
safe and will come to no harm. We continued with his injections and he has
steadily gained weight. He arrived at just under 23 kg and now at the last vet
visit he is 28 kg. He had a good moult a few weeks ago and has grown the most
beautiful, wavy, silky fur. For us a symbol that he has shed his previous life.
He still has an issue with cars, again something from his previous life but in time with
guidance that will fade. He still needs to learn a few manners with other dogs,
although he is great with other Goldens. People are drawn to Hugo. In all my years
of having Goldens I have never seen so many people stopping and wanting to
stroke a dog. Even families with their young toddlers stop and stroke him. Hugo
just sits and laps up the affection. He loves children and they love him. He has a
way of sneaking into people’s heart. Evidence how special he is. We could
not imagine life without him. He went on his first holiday in Cornwall in June
and absolutely loved it. He was so relaxed and happy. When he first went
into the pound he was assessed and it was thought that he was 8. A bad life
and illness had certainly taken their toll on him but looking at him now we believe
he is around 4-5. The empty eyes, the haunted look that stared back at me
at the IRR page is gone. Even the white fur around his eyes are virtually
gone and he looks a different dog. IRR, his foster family and we saved him
but he also saved us. He made our home a happy one again despite having
the ability to distribute every single toy all over the house. He trips us up and he
wakes us if we are late with his breakfast in the morning. What a lovable rascal!