What joy when Rufus came home again!

This is a bit of a different blog from us this time, so apologies to everyone used to our norm, but we felt it was important to write as it has meant so much to us, had such a huge impact on our lives, and also we want to try and raise some awareness to help save lives, writes Adam Rickitt.

Any of you who follow us on social media will already know much of what follows but, for those of you who don’t, here is a bit of back story to help set the scene.

The little fur ball I rescued. The little fur ball I rescued.

Back in 2007 I moved to New Zealand to appear for three months in a TV show out there called Shortland Street. Well, three months turned into five years as I loved the character I was playing; the people I was working with and the country itself.

The one downside was that it did leave me feeling very isolated. Moving to the other side of the globe (around about thirty-six hours door-to-door travel) I had to accept some pretty tough factors.

Firstly, if terrible things happened back home with the family, I would never make it back to say goodbye in time.

Secondly, I had moved to such an alien country that there was not one thing I loved. Not a view, a café, a person, a place….

Rufus - Living his best life in New Zealand. Rufus – Living his best life in New Zealand.

Having boarded from the age of seven, I was used to being on my own, but to be in a place where EVERYTHING was so alien to me was very unsettling.

Couple that with the fact that, in truth, I was not in a good place mentally at that point. No matter how much I enjoyed my job, and marvelled at the country and people, I did feel punishingly isolated.

Anyone who has had mental health issues will know and I don’t need to say any more, but for those lucky enough to not have, just trust me when I say life was not enjoyable at that time.

Katy fell in love. True love I reckon .... Katy fell in love. True love I reckon ….

But a little fur ball of joy entered my life and quite literally saved it. I heard about a farmer who had a litter of Blue Heeler puppies he was going to drown as he wanted the mother out working rather than weaning.

Thus it was I rescued a litter of eight two-week-old pups, weaning them myself and rehoming seven of them. The solitary boy, Rufus, I kept for myself.

Within a short time, he became my salvation. My reason to get up, my reason to get out, a focus for every fibre of love that had been lost on my journey.

I won’t digress too much but that dog saved my life.

The 'rock' in our family. The ‘rock’ in our family.

When we came back to the UK we luckily met Katy and he, like I, became besotted with her.

She in turn came to think I was ok but became equally obsessed about Rufus! As Katy never had a dog as a child he became the ‘glue’ of our family and has to this day been the joy of our lives.

So, when a couple of weeks ago he suddenly fell ill the very world itself seemed to crumble around us.

Being a dog, and stupid, he took it upon himself to eat the vomit of another dog before we had a chance to intervene. We stopped him as soon as we saw but alas the damage was already done.

Within hours he began vomiting, chronic diarrhoea, off his food, lethargy…none of them good signs so we rushed him to Paul Adams at Knutsford Veterinary Surgery.

But then things took a turn for the worst. But then things took a turn for the worst.

What followed was two weeks of hell. Every day filled with tears and goodbyes as we didn’t expect him to last the next night.

He became so weak from lack of food that Paul had to put a feeding tube in him to try, sometimes in vain, to get him to keep something in.

Suspicions were rife as to what it was and after numerous tests, tears and farewells Paul managed to discover Rufus had fallen foul of a disastrous viral gastroenteritis that had suddenly appeared.

And it just got worse. And it just got worse.

Paul told us: “Cases like Rufus, where survival is on a knife-edge, are always scary for everyone involved, and we know how much he means to Adam and Katy. When he came into the practice he was not in a good way, but we tried to remain positive and to get to the bottom of the cause while keeping him comfortable and addressing his needs.”

And my God they did! After two weeks of thinking he was going to die overnight, Paul managed to find a cocktail of drugs that brought him back. Not just to Katy and I, but to our other dog, Tallulah, who had been apoplectic since he went in, shaking constantly, depressed and utterly bereft.

The road to recovery was so fast once we had the mix right. Within just a few days he was back to being the king of the castle, bossing us all around and illustrating high levels of obnoxiousness!

I was an utter mess. I was an utter mess.

But many haven’t been so happy, we know of at least four other dogs who have fallen foul of this infection, and one who sadly passed away within four hours.

So, our purpose in this blog this month is a plea to all dog owners. If, at any point, your dog shows any symptoms, get to your vet as soon as you possibly can.

With this virus time is not on your side but, fingers crossed you, like us, will be able to have your fur baby home again.

But Paul from Knutsford Veterinary Surgery came to our rescue. But Paul from Knutsford Veterinary Surgery came to our rescue. And Rufus was back to himself again. And Rufus was back to himself again.
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