'Walking skeleton' transforms into happy, healthy dog 'living her best life'

'Walking skeleton' transforms into happy, healthy dog 'living her best life'

Flo was 'skin and bone' when she was rescued from a puppy farm - now she's barely recognisable! 

Flo was 'skin and bone'
A 'pitiful' dog who was just 'skin and bone' when she was rescued from a Welsh puppy farm is barely recognisable less than a year on and is now 'living her best life' in a new home.

Flo was one of 21 dogs rescued from a site in South Wales in March 2021 following a South Wales Police warrant. The dogs were found living in unhygienic and hazardous conditions, and many were underweight and suffering from severe skin diseases. All were seized by police and taken in by the RSPCA.

"Terrified of the outside world"

RSPCA Inspector Gemma Cooper, who led the investigation, said:

I was horrified by the animal's overall health and the environments in which they were being kept. It also appeared that a small-scale puppy farm was being run from this location.

The conditions they were kept in were not acceptable and the owners were failing to meet their needs. One pen for example - which had eight dogs in - had no space for them to get away from each other, had no comfortable area for them to rest and was full of urine and faeces.

The dogs didn't know how to walk on a lead and were 'terrified of the outside world'. It was clear from their reactions that they have not been properly socialised and spent the majority of their time locked up in these pens and away from life.

Some of the dogs, including Saluki-cross Flo, were sent to the RSPCA's West Hatch Animal Centre in Somerset for treatment and rehabilitation. Flo spent five months with the team being given specialist care. She was incredibly skinny and had a terrible untreated skin condition.

West Hatch deputy manager Anita Clark said:

When Flo arrived she was little more than skin and bone; she looked like a walking skeleton. It was a pitiful sight. She was suffering from mange with sores and cuts all over her body.

We immediately put her on pain relief, treated her ear mites and gave her weekly medicated baths to soothe her skin. When she was strong enough, she had a dental to clean her bad teeth too.

Flo was subdued, scared and in pain when she arrived. It was late when the dogs arrived and we carried them all to their kennels; they cowered in the corner, shocked to be in an unfamiliar place with people they didn't know. But they had heat lamps to keep them warm and cosy beds to curl up in; probably for the first time in their lives.

It was obvious from the start, despite her initial fear, that Flo was playful and loved people. Even though she was weak, she picked up a ragger toy and tried to play. And she loved cuddles!

With careful monitoring and lots of TLC, she went from strength-to-strength and her personality shone through a little more with every day that passed. It didn't take long for her to win over a new heart and she soon left for her forever home.

"It's like she was always meant to be here"

Danielle Tuagalu and her partner, Rupert Forrester, from Plymouth in Devon, spotted Flo was in need of a home and fell in love with her. Danielle said:

Flo has settled in very well to our home; it's like she was always meant to be here.

She instantly claimed our largest couch for herself but is kind enough to share it with us! She has the fluffiest ears and tail, she loves cuddles, sleeping on the couch - ignoring the three beds we bought for her. She also loves sand dunes, treats, toys and meeting other dogs and humans - big and little alike!

She also loves road trips and we've had lovely holidays with her; she even had her first adventure travelling from Land's End to John O'Groats!

"She is a constant source of amusement, affection and love"

The couple have continued her training and working on her recall meaning she can now be let off the lead which she loves.

Danielle added:

She is a constant source of amusement, affection and love, and all round wonderfulness. We have been truly blessed to have Flo in our lives and she seems to be a very happy dog living her best life.

Inspector Cooper added:

When I first saw Flo she was extremely underweight and cowered in the corner. Her ribs and spine were visible and she looked pink where she had fur loss and her skin was red and inflamed.

I am delighted that Flo found her forever home - her transformation is just amazing.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, like Flo, please donate online or call our donation line on 0300 123 8181.