Abandoned dog seconds away from being put to sleep… then a stroke of luck saved him

He’s just two years old, but Pumpkin’s short life was set to end.

The pocket bully was heartlessly abandoned by his owner and tied to the gates of a council-run dog pound.

Under the care of the kennels, he was unexplainably rapidly losing weight – he’d come in at 30 kilos and dropped to just 15 within a few months.

“The staff suspected he had cancer,” explained vet Dr Sharon Williams, the founder of Celandine Wood Animal Rescue (CWAR). “But council-run pounds often can’t afford veterinary care so he was booked in for euthanasia.”

Sharon had agreed to save another dog due to be put to sleep from the same pound and she got a message from its staff to ask if she could also take Pumpkin.

“I phoned the woman and said ‘Yes, we can take Pumpkin’. But she said, ‘Oh, you’re too late. They’ve just sedated him and they’re now putting him to sleep’.”

Sharon felt sick knowing she’d not been able to save him. “I’d been out cleaning my yard when I was texted about saving Pumpkin.

“My heart sank, knowing that if I’d have just seen the text a few minutes before he would still be alive.”

But then Sharon’s phone rang again. “She said, ‘The vet can’t find a vein. Can you still take him?’”

Sharon and a CWAR volunteer Paul jumped into her car and drove five hours to pick Pumpkin up. “He was in a cold office, lying on a stone floor and he had a little pumpkin-coloured jumper on him, which is where we got the name from, because he was actually called George.

“Although he was totally emaciated and looked tired, sad and ill, he wagged his tail when he saw us. You could just tell he just wanted to be loved.”

Sharon had blood tests and a specialist ultrasound scan done which ruled out cancer.

Suspecting he may have food allergies, she put him on a specialist hypoallergenic diet and he soon began putting on weight. “Within weeks of the special diet, he was like a different dog. He was thriving and full of life.”

With a second chance at life, Pumpkin has now found his forever home. “One of our dog walkers took a shine to him, and she wanted to foster him,” said Sharon. “Then she decided to keep him.

“His new owners take him for long hikes in the countryside, which he loves. He even has a wife, Ginny the miniature dachshund.

“He just loves people and is always happy when snuggled next to someone on the sofa.”

CWAR is facing closure unless it raises £500,000 to set up new premises. They must vacate their shelter by 14 June because the landowner is selling up.

The Merseyside-based rescue currently has 50 dogs in its care and also takes in cats and wildlife from Merseyside and beyond.

CWAR was born after Sharon began taking animals home with her which had been brought in for euthanisation for no good reason.

She plans to build a facility that will quadruple the amount of rescue spaces so they can save many more animals.

“Pumpkin was one of the lucky ones,” she said. “But the reality is that the UK rescue system is at breaking point.

“I get around 10 requests a day to save desperate animals in need and we have to say no because we are full. The majority of rescues up and down the country are full to bursting. That leaves so many animals with nowhere to go.

“Celandine is run entirely by volunteers, who juggle rescue work with their jobs and family commitments.

“We are all so heartbroken when we have to say no and we’re all passionate about growing the rescue. We want to be able to say yes to every animal we’re asked to save.”

Sharon is appealing for people’s help to grow the rescue. “We fundraise, but then with tests, medications and food, often one dog can cost thousands, and it wipes our funds out.

“We really need people who care about animals to help us so we can help them.

“Can you donate? Can you fundraise for us? Are you a business that can adopt us as your charity of the year? We’d be so grateful for the support.”

To donate to CWAR, visit the GoFundMe here.

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