The content herein is in my opinion what happened to our dogs Dico, Ella, Indie and Athene, here is the story in it's entirety.
In 2011 we were approached by a charity called Woofability, who train and place dogs with disabled people in the Hants and Dorset area, we have Australian Labradoodles and have an occasional litter and they asked if we would be interested in helping them. The ASD (australian service dog) was first bred and developed in Australia to be assistance dogs and as previous puppies of ours have gone to help people with autism we were delighted to be asked.
We donated a puppy called Ella to Woofability in Nov 2011 and everything seemed great, we visited them in Jan 2012 and noticed that Ella was severely underweight and gave them some advice about feeding and the area the dogs were being housed in and as they had only just moved to the premises understood that things were not yet ideal. We consequently donated two more puppies to Woofability and were pleased that our dogs were going to change the lives of disabled people in the future.
In January 2012 a dear friend of ours from Holland who has terminal cancer and is in a wheelchair contacted us and said his wife is also ill and could no longer manage Dico a blue merle Australian Labradoodle, So Dico came home he is a lovely well trained dog and as he was used to being around disabled people in wheelchairs would make an ideal meet and greet dog for Woofability, so Dico went off to Woofability and was to be kept entire and be available for stud duties, they had assured us that he would be living in the house with them and sleeping on their daughters bed, contact was somewhat patchy but life is busy so we were not too concerned.
In late September 2012 Dico was going to attend a dog show local to us,with Jenny and Andy however they couldn’t make it, so Dico came back to us in Oct for stud duties, his condition was absolutely shocking, he was matted to the skin underneath from his chin to his testicles, he smelt strongly of excrement and was stained with urine, underweight with a great deal of muscle wastage, we obviously took this up with them and made it quite clear that Dico would not be going back to Woofability. We asked to come and see our other puppies immediately !! We were informed that we could not visit on the Monday as Jenny and Andy were going away for a short break, so it was arranged for us to visit on the Friday, on Friday morning Andy telephoned and informed us “ he was bringing our dogs back to us as they could not deal with us any more”. From this we can only assume he did not want us to visit his premises.
Andy arrived at our house with two of our puppies Ella who they had named Rollo was 14 months and Athene who they had named Charity was 8 months neither dog was able to answer to their names and had absolutely no commands ie sit, come, stay or down. Charity was excessively exuberant and displayed the behaviour of a puppy left to her own devices in a group of puppies i.e. stunted behavioural and emotional development, she had no connection to humans only other dogs and when separated from other dogs became very subdued and quiet.
However Ella/Rollo is a different case entirely, from the point Andy extracted her from the car (he did this with some difficulty) she was reluctantly, I can only describe as dragged up the path cowering and wetting herself all the way to our front door, upon entering the house she continued to cower and pee showing great distress and fear. She too had no connection to humans and showed the classic signs of ‘Neglected, kennel dog behaviour’ Please bear in mind that at this time Ella/Rollo was only ten months away from becoming an ‘assistance dog’. Neither dog was housetrained.
These two dogs had been extensively groomed before being returned and were still damp upon their arrival, despite
this they were still matted under the chin behind the ears and around the genital area both smelt quite bad to put it
mildly and on subsequent bathing the water ran a dirty brown. In the desperate attempt to correct a neglected
Labradoodle coat the person who groomed Ella had sliced off the delicate piece of skin on her ear (see photo)
it would have bled profusely and of course been exceptionally painful and Ella now is very reluctant for anyone
to touch that ear.
The last of our dogs Indie/Renee was returned the following week as she had been out with a puppy walker, she was the
opposite to Charity in that she only had a connection to humans and was unused to other dogs, her coat whilst on the outside looked fine,was underneath matted to the skin she was also underweight and very smelly.
Our friend Jackie Ruddock of Jastra Goldendoodles had also given three puppies to Woofability, she had sold one puppy and donated two puppies. After we saw the condition Dico was in we contacted her and expressed our concerns, she then contacted Woofability and asked to be allowed to visit which they did on the 2nd Nov 2012 the same day Ella and Athene were returned to us, the puppies appeared to be fine and were approx 5 months they were obviously still happy go lucky puppies and at that time Jackie saw no grounds to remove the puppies from Woofability’s care, all of the time they were at Woofability’s premises they were kept outside and saw only one other adult Golden Retriever dog but never saw any of their accommodations, on their way back to Essex Jackie and Adrian called in at our house and met Ella and Athene, they were so shocked at their mental and physical condition, the following day Jackie and Adrian called Woofability and requested the return of their dogs Andy Clarke agreed to return the puppies but reminded them Woofability had purchased one, they agreed to buy the puppy back as long as they received vaccination records etc. Andy obviously did not want them back at Woofability’s premises and arranged to drop the puppies at Cannock Services on the M40. On Fri 9th November.
Jackie and Adrian said –"All three pups were returned to us in a very smelly state. All had urine staining on their feet and legs suggesting that they had been living outside in kennels.
One pup was lame on his hind right leg and after being examined by my vet was diagnosed with avulsed tibial tuberosity. All three pups were given antibiotics as they were suffering from severe upset tummies. We were horrified to find that they had no understanding of basic commands such as sit, down and come, they didn’t even respond to their names. All three were afraid of the
television, leapt up at work surfaces and were fearful of normal household noises, again suggesting that they had not been living in a home. In fact all three showed classic signs of multiple pups left to their own devices. This lack of socialisation and training is un-believable considering that these pups were going on to be assistance dogs".
After 6 weeks of intensive rehabilitation Ella has now been able to go to
a new home, we chose a wonderful family and Ella will always be a one dog
family, this will enable her to develop her own personality. We built her
confidence up while she was with us and she was able to rely on the other
dogs for confidence but we also ensured that she faced
new challenges on her own.
Dico ~ 'CreamofBritish Take That'
is now smiling again, he remains with us and his coat is growing back, his muscle tone is also
good and he can now keep up with Ineke again, people who have not seen him for a long time are still
shocked at his appearance.
Indie ~ 'CreamofBritish Indiana' is being rehabilitated
with some very dear friends in Essex, she had to have
her coat all shaved off but it's growing back nicely now
and she's having lots of fun with other Doodles playing on
the beach running through woods and her favourite of all
laying by the log burner.
Athene 'CreamofBritish Artemis' is now also called Ella as
her human dad is Italian, she lives with
Teddie Doodle ~ 'CreamofBritish River Phoenix' Alberto and Louise in Hertfordshire and now loves life and adores Alberto, Louise and Teddie and they love her how she deserves to be loved.
Above all else they are loved so very much and we are all so happy to have them back. Dogs don't talk but actually they do tell their story, I am a dog person and not someone who has dogs, I understand them and Ella, Dico, Indie and Athene have all told us their story.
To Jenny & Andy Clarke of Woofability I can only ask you both “Why?? Why when you told us that you loved them, would you treat our beautiful dogs with such apparent utter neglect??"
I have nothing but praise and love for all of the friends who have made it possible for our lovely furkids to be loved how we loved them, with passion and pride !!