Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Stewart the Thai rescue Dog: My first year living in Edinburgh


Stewart's first year in the UK

by Hayley Walters

6 Months Difference
A year has passed since I adopted Stewart, or StewMagu as he is often referred to, from a shelter in Thailand. He was one of 3,000 dogs that had been intercepted on the border of Thailand and Laos, being smuggled into Vietnam to supply the illegal dog meat trade.

It has certainly been a year of highs and lows with a trip to the vet for a dog bite abscess on his neck, a case of MRSP (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Pseudintermedius), some serious property destruction due to separation anxiety and just this week a biopsy was taken from a small mass growing on his nose, but luckily the result was benign.

However, it has been a rewarding year with him and he is happy little soul.

He thoroughly enjoys his walks in the Scottish countryside, the company of other dogs and has made many human and canine friends. He still sees Mothi several times a week and I call them 'The Terrible Thai Twins' as they seem braver (AKA deafer) when they are together and return to us on perhaps on the 8th or 9th recall!

He has been used for teaching practical several times in the teaching hospital so is now very used to having his head and legs bandaged and having a full ophthalmology examination done by students.

He starred in our MOOC in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and earned himself a little fan club as he not only introduced my chapter to 32,000 students across the world with me, but also starred in his own section relating to the illegal dog meat trade.

Looking back over the year I know that my life is richer thanks to him. I am far more active, I've seen a lot more of Scotland, I've met new people out on walks and I'm never alone. I'd like to hope that the relationship is mutually beneficial too and I've enriched his life also.
His separation anxiety has probably been the most difficult thing to deal with but we are increasing the time he can be alone bit by bit. Never have I measured success in seconds!

I still think of all the other dogs left behind in the overcrowded, barren shelter, destined to live out the rest of their lives there as unloved anonymous souls. One in particular stays with me as she placed her paw in my hand and looked at me with such pleading that I wish I'd taken her too.
 "You can't save them all" is a saying that is very true but I can, have and will continue to educate people on how to improve the lives of animals for as long as I can. And Stewart helps with that message too!

Enjoying the views over Loch Lomond
Stewart is happy out for a walk with all members of the family
Enjoying the views from Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh


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