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Paul O’Grady is back where he belongs, at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, meeting the latest residents to trot through the front door. From assisting vets during surgical procedures, to hand-rearing puppies and helping to train a naughty beagle, Paul is determined to get his hands dirty like never before.
Paul meets the dogs who come into the home needing treatment, training and ultimately new homes. Every dog has its own story and each dog needs a new place they can call home.
There is nowhere quite like Battersea, which is tear-jerking and uplifting in equal measure. And although Paul immerses himself in the positive work the charity do, he is also forced to confront the heart-breaking reality of stray dogs deserted on the streets and those left starving and mistreated.
In episode five, Paul meets Visu, an eight-year-old Shih Tzu brought to Battersea by his owner who is too ill to look after him. Visu doesn’t adapt well to life at Battersea and won’t eat, sleep or mix with the other dogs. Paul’s initials attempts to cheer him up are unsuccessful, but not one to admit defeat he sets about entertaining Visu with his stand-up routine, only to be snubbed once more.
Paul says: “This is going to worry me now all night. This depressed Shih Tzu. ‘Don’t give up, you’ve got to eat your dinner, we’ll get you nice and fat and healthy and then we’ll put you on some doggy Prozac if that doesn’t work’.”
Last series, Paul fell in love with a puppy called Eddie at Battersea and ended up adopting him as a new member of the O’Grady family. But a year on, Paul has some concerns about the health of Eddie’s nether regions and takes him to visit Battersea’s head vet Shaun Opperman, explaining that Eddie’s testicles haven’t dropped.
Shaun explains: “We do need to take them out because testicular tumours are quite common in dogs anyway but if they’re retained then they’re ten times more likely to become cancerous.”
Poor Eddie is clearly not amused and Paul decides it’s time to talk man-to-man about the facts of life, to prepare him for his neutering operation.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home have never turned a dog away and sadly a lot of the dogs arriving at the home have been neglected or abused. But it’s not often a dog comes in looking as bad as Minnie, a tiny, defenceless three-month-old puppy, found dumped on a doorstep in the freezing cold. Minnie is virtually bald and her skin is raw and covered in scabs. Her condition is called skin mange, caused by a microscopic mite that it usually very easy to treat but has been allowed to deteriorate.
Paul is appalled: “I have to say since I’ve been at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home I’ve seen some pretty shocking sights but I have to say, for me, this is the worst. This tiny little puppy, who’s been allowed to get in this state, there’s no need for it. This is unbearable.”
Vet Louisa begins Minnie’s treatment but it’s too early to tell whether she can make a recovery. Her condition is so extreme that the Battersea team can’t even work out what breed she is. Concerned Paul keeps everything crossed for a happy ending.