Rescue Stories

A Dog Called Sunday

The first reports of a large dog wandering the streets of Rayleigh in Essex are around 21st December 2008, the last Sunday before Christmas. The police noted that the dog kept falling over and that she had been seen wandering in the streets earlier.

On Christmas Eve the dog was taken to Acres Way Kennels in Essex.


Sunday January 4th 2009

Daneline was called by Beata to say that there was a Great Dane that had been dumped on the streets of Rayleigh in Essex near Southend on Sea and was now in kennels needing help. Beata rang me from the kennels to say that the Dane bitch was in a very bad condition. We immediately put a plan together and the result was that by 10:45 pm the Dane bitch arrived at Daneline in Bristol.

We did not know her name, so we called her Sunday.

It was obvious that she had been starved for some considerable time and she could hardly stand. She kept falling over and her back legs were in a shocking state. Sunday had her first light meal and I slept downstairs with her.


Monday 5th January 2009

In the morning I took her to our vet where she had her first vaccinations and a thorough health check. On completion Robert Dawson, our vet, said that he would like Sunday in for X-Rays on her spine, hips and knees and that he might have to open her right knee.

Tuesday 6th January 2009

Sunday was operated on by Mr Dawson of Highcroft Veterinary Group.

Sunday presented to me at the surgery with obvious problems in her hind legs that could be seen as soon as she tried to stand and walk into the consulting room. On examination she had, without doubt the most grossly swollen stifles (knees) I have seen in a dog.

I anaesthetised Sunday to x-ray her legs my suspicion of cruciate rupture in both stifles was confirmed and in addition both knees were riddled with arthritis. As can be seen from the x-rays the cruciate ligament in the right stifle had not only ruptured but become calcified too, essentially changing it from a soft structure into a hard, knobbly piece of bone trapped inside the joint that would have rubbed on the joint surfaces every time she walked, causing unimaginable pain.

When surgery was performed this was removed along with one of the cartilages in the joint that had become torn at some point. Sunday must have ruptured her cruciate ligaments years ago for the change in the knees to become so advanced and because the condition has not been addressed early it is not possible to treat the condition as well as we would like, but hopefully the surgery to clean up the joints and remove the most badly damaged tissues will at least relieve her of some of the terrible pain she has been suffering.

Click here for information on Arthritis in dogs (Word doc, 53KB).


Sunday's calcified cruciate ligament

Sunday spent her Tuesday night at the Vet’s and was returned to Daneline around midday on Wednesday. It is clear from the report that Sunday has been in the most unimaginable pain for at least 2-3 years.

Wednesday 7th January 2009

Sunday is beginning to settle in well but she is so depressed that she shows virtually no reaction to anything except food. She is currently on five small meals per day. She weighed only 44.95kg on Monday. Even though Sunday has had a major operation and will need further attention Robert (our vet) says that he is hopeful that after both operations Sunday will be relatively pain free with a good quality of life.

Thursday 8th January 2009

Another trip to the vets after being up all night. Sunday has chronic cystitis and is passing blood. More antibiotics are given by injection. The cystitis is probably due to stress. Another appointment is made for Friday. David arrives to take photographs and is shocked, he has never seen a dog in such a state.


Sunday 11th January 2009

After a week with Daneline Sunday is showing signs of recovery. Her weight of Friday was 46.7kg, a small increase even after the shock of her operation. The cystitis and bleeding have stopped.

Monday 12th January 2009

Sunday now weighs 48.25 kg. She will complete her course of antibiotics on Tuesday. She now goes for 2 short walks each day and is totally bearing her weight on the leg (right rear) that had the operation.
There are signs that Sunday is beginning to trust humans again, she is becoming perkier and more sociable.

Friday 16th January 2009

Sunday now goes goes for two good walks a day although she remains on the lead. She does not cower from strangers but men are still regarded with caution. She has remembered that good girls do not mess on the floor and she now sleeps through the night.

Sunday 18th January 2009

Sunday continues to make progress and she is becoming more confident.


Tuesday 20 - Wednesday 21 January 2009

Sunday now weighs 51.60 kg. This is an increase of 6.65kg in just 15 days. She goes to the vets and is considered strong and fit enough for her second operation. It is a long and complicated procedure and although she survives the anaesthetic she has to be fed through the line and given pain killers. She has chronic diarrhoea and is kept at the vets where she will be closely monitored. Lissi will take a light meal of Sunday’s favourite food on Wednesday afternoon and review the situation. Fingers and paws are all crossed.

I operated on Sunday’s second knee on the 20th of January. I had hoped to be able to perform this procedure arthroscopically, which is less invasive and causes less post operative pain and swelling. However, whilst this knee was less badly affected than the right knee, the degree of damage was far too severe to be able to treat it effectively without open surgery.

One of the cartilages in the knee had been torn in 3 places and had to be removed along with a large amount of overgrown, diseased joint capsule.

Following the joint surgery, poor Sunday developed severe diarrhoea and so had to be kept in for a couple of days after this. I am sure that this and the bout of cystitis she had after the previous surgery were both stress related. She is a gentle soul, but still flinches every time one of the vet’s or nurses goes to stroke her and I really hope that she can now go on to recover as good a use of her back legs as possible and find a loving home to spend the rest of her life.

Mr Robert Dawson of Highcroft Veterinary Group


Thursday 22 January 2009

Lissi collected Sunday from the vets. Sunday is a very sick dog indeed, she has a mountain of medication. Her continuing diarrhoea is causing concern. Lissi will keep a constant vigil day and night so that Sunday will never be far from her side. It is hoped that this intensive care will prevent Sunday from deteriorating further.

Friday 23 January 2009

Sunday had a restless night, so did Lissi! She is not accepting food which is making administering her drugs even more difficult. there will be further discussions with the vet.

Saturday 24 - Sunday 25 January 2009

Sunday is still very poorly but there are faint signs of improvement. Her diarrhoea is largely cured and she is showing some interest in food. She had another trip to the vet on Saturday. She had a light Sunday breakfast of chicken breast and pasta. Much of her medication still has to be administered by injection.

Monday 26 January 2009

The faint signs of improvement continue. Sunday has completed her course of antibiotics but is still on pain killers. She is still very poorly and has lost a lot of weight, she is now back to 47.7kg.

Another visit to the vet confirms this. Robert, our vet, is saddened to note that Sunday is still terrified of men and believes that she must have been very badly hit. Sunday responds well to women.


Wednesday 28th January 2009

Sunday continues to make some improvement and is beginning to take an interest in her surroundings. She attempted a game of tug-of-war with Chilli-pepper (pictured opposite). Sunday lost! Her eyes follow Lissi whenever she is in the room. Sunday’s fear of men is strongest within the house, she is suspicious out of door but volunteered a cautious sniff of my hand as I left.

Friday 30 - Saturday 31 January 2009

Sunday has started to go for short walks to the park and has even ventured off the lead, even though this is more of a gentle amble it is a sign that she is putting some weight on her left leg. She now wears a very posh pink collar and lead set; thank you.

She is showing signs of affection and offers her paw, even though she sometimes falls over in the process.

Monday 2 February 2009

Sunday is a different dog. Robert, our vet, is delighted with Sunday’s progress.

I saw Sunday for her final check and 2nd vaccination on 2nd Feb. She is much better on both her back legs now and looks like a much happier dog than the poor thing I saw when Lissi first rescued her. All she needs now is a good home and I really hope she can find one.

Mr Robert Dawson of Highcroft Veterinary Group

She now weighs 52.25kg so she is close to her optimum weight. She has had her final jab. She now goes for 2 walks a day. Her legs are getting stronger as she takes more exercise. Her recall is fine and she is becoming more confident daily.

Sunday is developing a character.

  • Clarissa (one of Lissi’s resident Danes) tried to occupy Sunday’s bed, so she removed the layers of bedding, one by one until Clarissa was on the floor.
  • In this cold weather Lissi places draught excluders around the doors. By morning Sunday had collected these and arranged them around HER nest!
  • Snow is Cool


Thursday 5 February 2009

Further general improvement and one significant milestone.

Sunday actually volunteered to approach Lissi’s son for a cuddle!

Sunday’s progress and increasing confidence means that she will soon be looking for that special home. She is not a young girl, perhaps about 6 or 7 but she has shown herself to be a survivor.

Friday 6 February 2009

Another mark of Sunday’s recovery is that she has started to enjoy games. Her game of football involved tossing the ball in the air and achieving a match winning header, or a look of stunned surprise as the ball landed on her head. Look out David Beckham!

Saturday 21 February 2009

Sunday has a new home!!!

She takes with her the best wishes of all at Daneline, Highcroft Veterinary Surgery and dozens of well wishers, but most of all by her foster mum.

A really big THANK YOU to everyone who has been so very, very generous with their donations.

If you know of a Great Dane in need, please click here to see how to contact us.