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Border Collie Rescue - On Line - Cain - a Case History

A Case History of Cain

Cain at 12 weeks
Cain - aged 12 weeks.
Sometime around the end of November 1996, Cain was born.
We can't be sure precisely. He was bred on a puppy farm and sold (for £100) though an agent, working via a newspaper and mobile phone in Middleborough. He was delivered in a van.

His new owner was a young lass, on income support, and Cain had been bought for her by her boyfriend as a Christmas present.
Within 24 hours of 'delivery' he became ill. No appetite, Diarrhea, vomiting, high temperature (103.5) and fur loss, particularly on his the face and eyes. The lass could not afford a vet, so on 24th Jan 1997 took him to the PDSA , who were seriously concerned and took tests.

He was diagnosed with kennel cough, distemper and mange. He also had other, less life threatening parasitic infections. He weighed 2.2 kg. The PDSA commenced treatment.
They estimated him to be around 9 weeks old when they first saw him.

Over the next week, the lass found she could not cope - even missing appointments.
The PDSA called us when she next attended and we spoke to her, agreeing to take responsibility for him. She signed him over to us, along with his PDSA veterinary records and Nicki took over his care, in isolation, with treatment provided by Swale Vets in Richmond.

The only positive outcome of the tale, at this point, was a large article in the local paper that carried the advert, entitled something like - "The Pitfalls of Pet Purchases", warning people about buying 'blind' and the evils of puppy farming.
They also tightened up their advertising criteria.

Cain at 6 months old
Cain - aged 6 months

It was touch and go when he first arrived in our care.
He was too ill to be vaccinated, on a wide range of medication, being fed by hand several times a day and having to be kept in complete isolation at a time in his life where we were fully aware that socialisation was vitally important.

Our vets were not optimistic about his long term chances.
One morning, when he was about 12 weeks old, Nicki looked at this tiny, underweight specimen with his little buster collar on.
His eyes were running, as was his nose. He still had a cough.
Ear and eye drops were being administered several times daily, with such regularity that even at such a tender age he automatically positioned his head, tilted on one side, then the other, for the drops to be given.

Just for one minute, Nicki questioned as to whether we were doing the right thing by this dog. Has he got a future. If so, what kind of quality of life could he expect. She stared into his eyes.
Afterwards she described it one of those 'animal connection' moments?
He stared back and she felt the answer in her heart."Yes please", said Cain - If I'm willing, who are you to question it?

Cain at 1 year old
Cain - aged 1 year

By the end of March 1997 Cain was fit enough to be vaccinated and after the two week course was able to mix with other dogs and people for the first time since leaving his mum.

The life threatening problems were a thing of the past, he had a healthy appetite, but was still suffering the consequences of his brush with death.
He was small, weak and although the mange infection was gone, the fur around his eyes and on his nose was refusing to grow back.

Although he was out of our version of 'intensive care', he was in long term convalescence and would remain so for the next 8 months. We also needed to address his social issues, but we had an ally in all of this - Cain himself.

Throughout his ordeal he had behaved in a remarkably dignified manner.
There is no doubt that Nicki's daily close handling and care had created a strong bond between them and he trusted her fully.
Consequently, he trusted what she trusted.

He was also a fighter and had shown a great sense of humour in his fight and zest for life. In many ways he was an inspiration to us all in Border Collie Rescue and showed us that where there is life there is hope, in the most direct way imaginable

During his convalescence, he spent his time being fostered by Nicki and Mike at their home in Swaledale.

Regular runs on the open moors built his strength and physique. Close contact with the other dogs they kept taught him manners.

In BCR we know dogs learn best from other dogs.
Meg took over the role of canine Matriarch, a role she performed with any dog coming into her household. She taught Cain boundaries, manners and hierarchy.
Mr. Tod took on the role of Patriarch, again a job he was used to and excelled at. He showed Cain tolerance, authority and how to approach life in a laid back manner and still get what you need!
Cap took on the role of elder brother and showed Cain how to play and interact with others dogs.
Between them they sorted out his socialisation shortfalls. (They did this for hundreds of other dogs as well - it was their life's work, for which we are eternally grateful.)

Other foster dogs, coming and going, broadened his experience and the human visitors were always introduced to him as an aid to his human socialisation.
When he was fit enough in body and mind, he began to regularly attend the office in Richmond.
By 12 months of age the job was done and Cain was a friendly, fun loving and affectionate Border Collie with a whole life ahead of him.

He still had physical problems. His breeding had left him with a number of issues which would never be resolved - this is the disgrace of puppy farmers. They are a business, in it for the money and often produce 'substandard' product in search for more profit - fine if it's a car that can be fixed, but this is life and it's disgusting.
His illness had also left it's mark. The fur on his face would never fully recover and there was obviously some damage to glands and internal organs that would appear later in his life, although at that point were not apparent.

To broaden his life experience and build up his character he was placed in temporary foster homes, being moved from time to time, until a new and permanent home was found for him.
In the meantime he was neutered.
He had one or two social problems that resulted, in part from his confinement and in part from his illness. He would never be as strong as the average dog and consequently tends to get picked on because other dogs sense his weakness and some will take advantage.
He is also wary of stranger at first, particularly men, and will be a bit reserved until he gets to know people - mind you, this is by no means a handicap and could be seen as conventional wisdom!

Cain preferred to live outside.
Problem was that it was going to be difficult to find a home that would be good enough! There was no way he would be placed in a town as he was fully adjusted to a life in the country and when fostered in urban environments, seemed edgy, as many collies are .

In the end, it was a foster carer that provided the solution.
Patricia had fostered a number of dogs for BCR since volunteering to help. She lives in a small rural hamlet on a no through road and had an enclosed, secure, paved back yard with outbuildings and garage with doorstep access to fields, footpaths and farm tracks and on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.


Cain was re-homed to a lady who fostered him for Border Collie Rescue - His story continues in her words.

His vaccination certificate said Kane. I always wrote it Cain because he was neutered so wasn't able (Abel – it's a pun – get it?).

Pictures of Patricia and
Cain on Skye - May 2009

I had moved to the North Riding in 1997, noticed the Border Collie Rescue HQ in Richmond and volunteered to help, thinking that my office skills would be useful, but instead I was asked to foster dogs short-term.
I had Jenny (who loved water and was fascinated by hedgehogs), Pan (who was blind but seemed not to know), Scott (for five days until his adopter could collect him) and Ben (who chewed doorknobs).

Cain was two when I started to foster him while the hope continued that a permanent home could be found for him with someone with enough room for his boundless energy, and I had no garden and only a small back yard.
He wasn't the slightest interested in sheep nor in any other sort of work and just wanted to play football. In addition he was wary of strangers, especially men.

He'd had a poor start, being the runt of the litter and bought, too young to have been taken away from his mother, by a teenager with not much idea of how to look after dogs.
He was very small and weak and had mange so he ended up at Border Collie Rescue where Nicki fed him by hand every two hours until he was strong enough to join the other pups. He never grew very big and the hair didn't grow back properly where the mange had been on his face.

He'd always lived outside and it was impossible to keep him looking tidy for long so he was often a bit of a scruff.
The weeks of fostering turned into months and after a year Nicki asked if I'd like to adopt him. I'd already discovered him to be the most obedient and easily trained dog I'd ever had.
He never became used to noise and bustle but in a hamlet with fewer than 40 inhabitants surrounded by quiet lanes and fields with lots of public footpaths that was not a problem.

I work at home so even in winter we always had a long walk in the afternoon as well as shorter ones before breakfast and at bedtime. He loved swimming after sticks in the Swale, the Ure and any beck with deep enough water.
He travelled well in the back of my small hatchback, usually sitting up watching the other traffic, and he was happy to sleep in it if we went somewhere overnight.

As well as all over North Yorkshire we went walking in the Lake District, Northumberland, Devon, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Wales, Scotland and Jersey and had hoped to visit friends in Cornwall this year.
We also went on CND demonstrations at Menwith Hill and Fylingdales.
If I had to be away on business and when I went abroad he was happy in boarding kennels, where he was always popular with staff.
When the kennels at Easby Abbey closed he went to Low Chantry Farm at Middleton Tyas, where he adored Pat.

At the age of eight his hair started to fall out in patches and the diagnosis was low thyroid, which was successfully treated with tablets.
For ten and a half years he was my loyal companion and at 12 he could still leap over stiles.

Well, perhaps he was not quite so fast as when younger but then neither was I by that time! In May 2009 we spent 10 days on Skye with a group of friends and had some lovely long walks but shortly afterwards he went off his food and lost weight fast.

Antibiotics bucked him up temporarily but soon his body just shut down and despite the best endeavors of the lovely vet, who had been with him until 1.30 am, he fell asleep for the last time in the early hours of Friday 12 June 2009.
I had expected that in common with most Border Collies Cain would live to be 15 or even 16 so was greatly comforted when Nicki pointed out that in view of his poor start in life she hadn't expected him to live as long as he did.

Patricia Tricker, 12 June 2009

So Cain has taken his path through life with resolution, dignity and a profound sense of fun.
He has left a legacy for Border Collie Rescue by enhancing our understanding of the value of life and it's potential.

Had we followed expert advice, he may not have had a life because there was much doubt about his ability to lead a full one.
If we had followed the rule of quantity over quality, he may not have had a life because the time it took to save his could have helped several other dogs with lesser problems. If we had followed the rules of 'economics and expediency' he would not have had a life because 'economics' discourages a small return on capital invested and expediency is an acceptance of the easy option.

For some rescues it would have been easier and more logical to take the short term option and put the poor little fellow 'out' of his misery rather than strive to get him through it and 'out' the other side.

Cain showed us that the 'return' of LIFE is worth the investment and that has helped shape the development of Border Collie Rescue and our priorities. It's shaped our philosophy on rescue, sanctuary and re-homing.

Cain has also shown us how much damage puppy farming does, how many lives it touches and destroys and how much it costs society to deal with the results of these unscrupulous people's 'right' to make a living by exploiting another species.
Thank you Cain - we're going to miss you boy. Your life was well worth the living and we're glad we helped.

For more information about puppy farms - click on the image of Cain below and follow that dog as he guides you through our website linking all our pages that have references to Puppy Farming and Commercial Breeding!

puppy farm link

Follow That Dog!

If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie from us,
please do not write to us or email us - we want to speak to you before we start the process.
Please phone us during office hours. Details here.

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