Winston had been living in a shopping mall car park, and was reported by the guard as being unable to walk properly and was constantly twitching.
This is a clear sign of an earlier bout of Distemper, which he was shown to be free from, but not without lasting effects.
He is an old, shy dog, with a gentle nature perhaps 8 years old.
The guard said Winston had been staying around City mall for over a year. His twitching was a sign of a previous Distemper episode which – if it doesn’t kill the dog, leaves it with a permanent twitch.
We took him to a vet clinic to get him tested and he was negative, which meant we could bring him to the shelter.
We can’t bring dogs with distemper to the shelter as it is highly contagious and often fatal. The 5 in 1 vaccines that dogs have include a vaccination against distemper but sometimes even fully vaccinated dogs get it if their immune system is weak.
Winston was weak and malnourished so we kept him in quarantine for a while and treated him with vitamin B supplements to help his nervous system.
After a few months he started to become more sociable with the other dogs but still was very wary of people. He allows Rudylyn our vet assistant to pick him up and bathe him and also Ding the caretaker – but apart from that he is still pretty wary of humans.
His twitch has decreased a lot though it is still there. We are hoping to socialize him some more using volunteers – and maybe even leash train him.
We also discover he is blind in his right eye, but he still manages to see his food bowl!
Here is a video clip of Winston as he arrived at the Sanctuary.
In the last couple of weeks we switched the volunteers from cleaning duties to purely playing with and socialising the dogs. Plus we have a new assistant, Rachel, whose job is to focus on the unsociables.
Winston let himself be touched by Christine for the first time yesterday and gave her a playful bite! He is also getting more playful with the other dogs.
He looks so much happier so I guess he just needed some extra attention.
He has had no health issues at all in this last month and we are tentatively going to start to try to leash train him this month so hopefully he will make good progress from now on.
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