Big Ben

Some of the dogs adopted from rescue need ongoing extra care. If you have to go the extra mile because your dog has extra needs, keep us informed on his/her progress.

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Big Ben

Postby LabRes1 » 17 Jun 2014, 09:51

Once upon a time we found ourselves chatting to Glenys about an old boy that had come into the rescue. Kept in a small yard with no exercise, overfed, overweight, arthritic I remember the words now... "He needs somewhere nice to lay his head, he only has about 6 months left". I'm not quite sure what tune the heartstrings were playing at that time but I found myself getting into the car to go and collect the old boy whilst Carolyn did the usual shuffling of dog beds, feeding of dogs and preparation for the new arrival.

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Having arrived at the rescue and partaken in the usual cup of coffee, fixing of computers and general catch up it was time to meet the old lad. Out of the Kennel came Ben - very quickly renamed Big Ben! He was a whopping 59kg with a head bigger than mine and the paws of a donkey.

Meeting the rest of the pack was interesting - mind you, introducing a new dog into a pack of 3 or 4 always is at our house. The first night wasn't too bad, the following day he nipped Tobys ear and there was blood everywhere! I was for taking him back to the rescue there and then but the calm, reasoning voice of the wife wafted into my ears and he stayed.. She always has been much better at some things than I am but I dont admit it too often.. lol

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It quickly became apparent that whilst he was ok with food given to him, he was extremely food aggressive when he stole something or found something and managed to get hold of him - he left us in no doubt that if you tried to take it off him he would bite so we worked around this, being careful where and when he was fed to prevent any issues at feeding times etc.

Due to his badly arthritic legs, Ben could only walk about 200 yards - He loved grass, and in particular smelling every blade of it, along with walls, gateposts, lamp posts or anything else he came across. In the time it took Carolyn to walk Ben, I could have taken all the others for a quick after tea trot around the block, washed up and cleaned the car but Ben wouldn't be rushed.

There were many times people used to tell us how cruel we were - letting him get into that state! but there were also many more who used to love watching him take his strolls around the green and he soon became a local celebrity. Not only was he a celebrity on the streets but he also stole the hearts of everyone at the vets. He quickly fell in love with Gaynor, his vet and whenever we took him, he would sit in the waiting room getting more and more excited - as soon as he heard Gaynors voice he was off like a puppy - even if it wasn't his turn. Once he had heard her he wouldn't stop barking until he got to see her and regularly knocker her off her feet as she tried to examine him - I don't think she ever managed to listen to his heart!

Despite our battle to reduce Bens weight we were, apart from a couple of kilos unsuccessful. Ben went swimming at canine hydrotherapy pool in Preston where Anne looked after him with such care and love. Another heart stolen by Big Ben! Ben did not like swimming but he endured it twice weekly for most of the time he was with us, along with some massage and electromagentic therapy from time to time to help his joints. Usually every Tuesday and Thursday we would load him into the car, take him from Blackpool to Preston and then take home a wet smelly lump just to keep him walking... Bit for the love and care he received from Anne we would have had to let him go at least two years sooner than we did.

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The reason for his reluctance to loose weight became apparent when he swallowed a battery. As Carolyn opened a kitchen cupboard a 9v battery fell out - Ben caught it and swallowed it before it hit the floor. A trip to the vet and an xray confirmed the battery was definitely in his stomach and we left being told that if it had not passed within 48 hours he had to have surgery to remove it - if the battery leaked it would cause a slow painful death. Despite checking every poo with hope, we took Ben back to the vet on the Friday and left him to have the battery removed. As he was old, huge and not in the best of condition there was always the possibility he might not recover from the anesthetic so we went home to wait. I remember us both sitting on the sofa watching the clock and then the phone ringing. It was the vet - was it over, was he ok? No they had not started yet. Once sedated they took another xray so they would know where the battery was - was it still in the stomach or had it moved down into the bowel. Because he was sedated, they could xray properly and had found a tumor the size of a bowling ball. There was even less guarantee the big boy would make it now but we had to give him a chance - he was so full of character and loved every minute of life. The operation started and we waited, and waited and... waited. Eventually we got the call - three and a half hours to remove the tumor and 20 mins to get the battery out and he was alive and had a small amount of food.

When we collected him from the vet he could not walk on his back legs at all and had to be lifted and supported with a sheet under his tummy. Anne at canine therapies made a sling for him that we used to support him while he went out for a wee and poo. Every day we bathed and cleaned his wounds and although his back end was too week to lift him, his personality and zest for life was still there. I remember some difficult conversations about how long we should give it to get him walking again and what to do if we couldnt! Over the following month he began to get his legs going and as soon as he had fully healed we were again off to the pool twice a week to get him back on his legs. More loving care from Anne and the sling was used less and less and Ben was back with us again - 4.5kg lighter now he was without the tumor.

Daily routine continued and much humour was caused by the old lad.. Sometimes on his walk he would decide he could do no more, or some days his legs just stopped working. So.. what do you do when you are on the green with no phone and a now 54kg labrador who cant walk? Only one option - pick him up, throw him over your shoulder and carry him home! My god I have seen some interesting reactions as this huge labrador head bounced past peoples windows.. lol He used to love it - paws over my shoulder looking around watching what was going on - not too sure I was enjoying it as much!

Big Ben knew everyone who had ever stopped to fuss him and could see them a hundred yards ahead - or he would know which garden or house they lived at. One such chap made the fatal mistake one day of scratching bens ears on a walk.. a mistake he would never be allowed to forget! A few weeks later, said chap was under his car repairing it as Ben plodded down the street. As carolyn and Ben got to the car, Ben looked and saw the chap under the car and duly sat down. He wouldnt move until the chap came out form under the car and gave him a big fuss. Shortly after the same chap was decorating the bedroom - Big Ben sat in the drive and refused to move until he came downstairs and gave him the much loved ear scratch.

Considering his food aggression, a little girl wanted to fuss him while he was on a walk. She gave him a dog biscuit and Ben took it ever so gently with his front teeth and was a perfect Gent. All the old ladies in the area used to watch for him coming for his daily plods and everyone who knew him loved him.

Eventually, old age took its toll - 12 when he came to us, he finally left us 4 1/2 years later - thats the longest he's only got 6 months left I've ever seen.. lol. He left a massive hole that can never be filled and an equally large collection of happy memories that will never fade

rest in peace big boy
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Re: Big Ben

Postby Glenys » 17 Jun 2014, 10:06

Lovely story Big Ben was a lucky boy that he came to you and he will never be forgotten xx
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Re: Big Ben

Postby Patmar » 17 Jun 2014, 10:44

What a lovely story - you must miss him so much - such a great character.

Rest in peace Big Ben

With love

Pat x
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Re: Big Ben

Postby LabLover » 17 Jun 2014, 10:50

What a lovely story which also brought a tear to my eye .....Big Ben was a beautiful boy and so lucky to have found you and Carolyn.

Amanda Jim Milo Zak & Max x
Amanda Jim & Fynley xxx

Remembering our beloved boys Milo, Little Max & Zak who forever will always be in our hearts and never forgotten Feb 2003 to May 2016, Jan 2010 to Jun 2017 & Nov 2004 to Nov 2017.
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Re: Big Ben

Postby littleorp2 » 17 Jun 2014, 11:41

What a lovely story. I don't know who was more lucky, you or him.
Carol x
Carol and Tasmin
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Re: Big Ben

Postby Maggie May » 17 Jun 2014, 16:09

What a lovely story, I have leaky eyes now. He was very lucky to have found you and Carolyn.

God bless you Big Ben :love2: You were a lovely boy.
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Re: Big Ben

Postby jackie » 17 Jun 2014, 16:36

I remember when you got him Ian what a lovely lad he was. He lived to a good age thanks to you and Carolyn, the story above was lovely to read made me smile and cry.

Jackie x
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Re: Big Ben

Postby Megsmum » 17 Jun 2014, 16:58

What a wonderful story! And amazing that he had 4 1/2 more years with you thanks to your tlc. It was obviously meant to be.
I would have paid money to see you walking home carrying Ben over your shoulder! :1968:
Helen and Mollie xx

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Remembering my beautiful Meg 1992-2008
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Re: Big Ben

Postby coco-bean » 17 Jun 2014, 17:04

Leaking eyes AGAIN.

What a lovely ending to a sad story. :love5:

All I can say is you must be strong, I would of loved to see you carrying BIG Ben home on your shoulders.

Loved reading his story and his beautiful pictures.
Debbie, Coco & Kinder X

Who ever said diamonds are a girls best friend..... Never owned a Labrador or two
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Re: Big Ben

Postby Lins » 17 Jun 2014, 18:13

The bigger the dog, the bigger the personality it seems. I really enjoyed the story of Big Ben and have to say, he was one lucky lad to end his days with you both. I too would have paid good money to see him having a firemans lift. :1966:

BIG BEN.............gone but never forgotton. :love4:
Lins, Molly and Scooby

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Re: Big Ben

Postby Yvonne Walsh » 17 Jun 2014, 18:58

What a wonderful story! Big Ben sounds such a character! Love the description of him hoisted over your shoulder! :1966:
Yvonne (and Molly)
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Re: Big Ben

Postby Melliott » 17 Jun 2014, 20:41

I remember the day you got him Ian, what a beautiful boy :love5:

Always remembered.

Love Michelle X
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A Labradors face feels like home
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Re: Big Ben

Postby Joe + Hilary » 18 Jun 2014, 00:41

I really enjoyed reading about your Big Ben. What a wonderful character. So sorry you have lost him but as you say so many happy memories. Gorgeous photos of him. Thinking of you.

Hilary, Tuppence & Rowley
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Re: Big Ben

Postby jackiem » 18 Jun 2014, 14:22

I too remember Big Ben. What a lovely boy he was and it did make me smile reading about the fireman's lift!

Run free at the bridge beautiful boy.
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Re: Big Ben

Postby scubakim » 18 Jun 2014, 14:30

A truly heartwarming story, it just shows what bucket loads of TLC can do! It sounds like he had the perfect retirement home and left many wonderful memories :love5:
Kim, Murphy & Amy x

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