Bailey the springer spaniel with issues

by Deborah
(Solihull, UK)

Take it if you can!

Take it if you can!

Bailey came to us at 14 months from the police. We should have known he was trouble when we went to visit him in the police kennels where he had been bathed and groomed for us to view. He was standing on a wet towel in his cage.

We took him home the same day where he proceeded to go completely wild, "flying" around the house, across tables & chairs and grabbing kitchen knives, loaves of bread, scissors any anything else within his reach. He was particularly fond of dish cloths, tea towels etc and once he had an item, there was no way he would give it back. Hence the towel in the cage when we visited him at the kennels. He had never lived indoors and had never been trained.

After a few months of settling in we took him training where he tested every trainer to the limit. It took two of us for the hour session to cope with him but we persevered for the next year. We hired a physcologist at £80 per hour and although he is calmer now and has got his silver medal, he constantly steals all manner of items and gets aggressive if you try to retrieve them, often wetting everywhere. It is impossible to put anything down for a second, or to any kind of job in the garden, he seems to have a sixth sense as to where we have hidden things. He looks in washing baskets, under cushions, on the table, everywhere. Nothing is sacred, remote controls, mobile phones, purses, money, underwear.

But for all this Bailey had a sad story to tell. Bought at Christmas, he was quickly relegated to the garden where he was tied up and barely played with and possibly never walked. At 5 months he was castrated. At 11 months he was given to the police. After 3 months with the police and showing good instincts as a semtex sniffer, he was dismissed due to an occasional limp. After being rehomed twice, for a period of a day each, he was returned to the police due to his bad behaviour. Once he had stolen an item, he guarded it and snapped at it if anyone tried to retrieve it, consequently causing wounds to anyone not quicker than him.

We were told to exercise him to strengthen his leg muscle and the limp would go away. After a year,the limp was constant and was diagnosed as a sliding kneecap.
At the age of 2 1/2 he had an amazing operation to rebuild his leg but after spending 3 months in a cage (the splint in the leg was fractured early in the recovery process and we had to start again) he eventually recovered enough to recommence his exercise. Unfortunately, there was no cartlidge left in the knee and poor Bailey is in constant pain and sometimes cannot be walked at all for 10 day periods. We have to manage the leg and exercise to give him the best quality of life we can. Its a balancing act, that is virtually impossible. We do this because he is not yet 4.

But for everything, we love him. He had a bad start through no fault of his own and we took him on and so we will be there until the end, regardless of what precious items we have to sacrifice in the meantime. We found the perfect dog and I hope he found the perfect owner.

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Aug 12, 2010
by: Anonymous

Hi Deborah good on you foe perseveringly with Bailey. It is good to see an owner committed to helping their dog. For Bailey's guarding issues you might want to read Jean Donaldson's book Mine it is very good.

For Bailey's joint you could consider giving him glucosamine and chondroitin to put some fluid back in

Aug 11, 2010
by: Michele

Oh my goodness - bless your sweet heart for continuing to work with Bailey. Despite his crazy behavior, you have obviously fallen in love with him!

My younger Springer is 2 1/2. We bought her at 10 months. She too is crazy and drives us nuts, but we do our best to work with her every day and try to calm her. I'm sure she has some mental issues!

Our families think we're crazy for tolerating her and admittedly, it is sometimes difficult! But on the rare occasion when she has a calm moment and she shoves her nose into your hand. looks at you with those beautiful eyes full of love, and just seems to beg for understanding, we know that despite her neurotic tendencies she is worth our time and love.

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