Heathlands Animal Sanctuary
Registered office: 13 Eastfield Road, Royston, Herts SG8 7ED
(Please note, no dogs are kept at this address)
Registered Charity Number 1067970
Having a pet is not a right, it’s a privilege.
Teagan arrived on 21 September 2014. He was underweight, very unsure and shy and he had two very obvious lumps on his front and back leg. He was neutered on 26 September 2014 during which he was also X-rayed. The X-rays showed that he had bone cysts and that there were more that were not visible to the eye. The vet said that they might not come to anything but within a week one more was clearly visible on a third leg and along his tail. The vet also said that there was a possibility that his legs could snap during exercise and that nothing could be done as the cysts would prevent the broken bone from fusing back together.
Heathlands passed the X-rays on to an Orthopaedic expert for a prognosis and so the wait begun. Sadly, the prognosis was not good and it was confirmed that nothing could be done and it was unlikely Teagan would see his first birthday. If it had been one cyst on one leg amputation would have been an option but with three cysts on three legs this was not an option. In view of this it was decided it was unfair to rehome him and he would stay with us until the day should come.
The weeks passed by and he continued to put on the weight and gain confidence. He also formed an amazing bond with my then 3 year old, afternoons after nursery would be spent curled up asleep on the sofa together and they have became inseparable. He also became very bonded with my own dogs and he is a bit of a mother hen both to them and fosters that come, cleaning their noses, eyes and ears every day without fail.
Christmas 2014 came and went and he made it as did his first birthday and we started to have hope but no sooner did we another cyst would appear. A new one was appearing almost every month at one point and again things looked bleak but he soldiered on. They were solid and they hurt if they caught you, causing you to bruise. He does really well throughout the warmer months but during the colder months he often cries for no apparent reason and there have been a few occasions where he has lost his balance and almost tipped over or can’t get up, again with no reason. By the time he had been with us a year he had cysts on three legs, along his tail, on his rib cage and on his spine adding up to double figures.
In May 2016, I noticed that the cyst on his spine seemed to have disappeared but on closer inspection it had actually "slipped" and was sitting on his side. It also had a rather large pocket of fluid around it and it felt as though it was moving. He was once again rushed to the vets where they drained 6ml of fluid from around the cyst. There was still a lot of fluid left but it was hoped that it would self drain with a few days. It took a while but it did eventually. It was said that the cyst coming loose was consistent with a knock, probably when playing. Nothing more could be done and nobody could say what would happen if the cyst was to completely detach. He is a bit of a medical mystery. It still has a lot of free movement confirming that his bones will not fuse back together.
On 17 October 2014 I came home from dropping the children off at school to Teagan screaming, it sounded as though he was being tortured. I could not get him off the bed nor touch him without that sound filling the house. I managed to get him to the vets but she could not see any obvious reason for his pain and so he was sent home. He hardly moved the rest of the day, my own dogs would not leave his side and I knew something was seriously wrong and I feared the worst. He was quiet but come the evening he started to scream again and following a phone conversation with the vet she agreed to prescribe him pain relief and anti-inflammatories. Moving him just was not an option. It was a long, long night but we got through it and he was able to get up although still in pain. Within 48 hours he was a completely different dog, mobile and almost back to himself. He had a follow up a few days later and it was agreed he would be kept on pain relief for a few more days as it still was not clear what was causing the pain. At his next follow up the vet felt it was time to stop the medication as it would only be masking the pain. Thankfully though the pain was gone.
Teagan has celebrated his third Christmas and next month is his third birthday and on the whole he is doing so well. He has the most beautiful nature, always has to be snuggling up to something or some one and loves his home comforts. As of January 2017, he has approximately 13 cysts that are clear to the eye but there are also many you cannot see. His back legs are also quite bowed which you notice when he walks but this does not affect the way he runs - he is fast!!! For all the sad and scary moments there are some equally joyful ones. Last year he had his first holiday and watching him run up and down the beach free without a care in the world, jumping in and out the sea (while we all screamed!) was the most heart warming feeling ever and really put things into perspective. I used to spend a lot of time worrying and trying to wrap him up in cotton wool just in case but that was no life. He loves to run free and so now he leads the life of any other normal dog. As a family we will be devastated when the dreaded day comes but if the unthinkable was to happen tomorrow I could hand on heart say he had lived, he was loved and had hopefully enjoyed his life. It's very bitter sweet as Teagan has had more time than anybody had ever imagined but at the same time you know it is very unlikely he will live a long life and it's human nature to want more time in that respect.
If you have been touched by Teagan’s story, please consider setting up a standing order. Even a couple of pounds a month can make a huge difference if enough people do it. You can download a standing order form here
Teagan isn’t the only dog we have on permanent foster. Watch out for Crystal’s story coming soon
By his foster Mum Nicola