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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 seven, we meet a seriously neglected six-month-old Boxer, found chained to a tree in a London park. As he is found over the Easter weekend, the staff name him Egg. Appallingly, it appears that Egg has been left to live in his own waste. He’s also seriously underweight and is seen straight away by Battersea vet Phil.
Phil says: “As you can see he’s in a pretty bad state really. That’s going to take weeks, even months to come out. It can cause infections and I think that’s exactly what’s happened here.”
Egg is given the first in a course of medicated baths to start improving his condition but despite his neglect, he’s still affectionate and inquisitive. Paul helps vet Louisa give Egg a manicure to clip his long claws and an ear treatment to clean his ears and prevent infection.
But Paul gets more than he bargained for: “I just got a mouthful of ear cleaner. Actually it tastes quite nice. Mix that with a drop of ginger ale, have a good night out!”
There was another distressing story for Battersea when tiny puppy Flipper arrived, found inside a cardboard box. Flipper had been so badly mistreated and abused that she couldn’t even walk. Against all the odds, the miracle puppy has pulled through but still has a long way to go before she can be rehomed. Staff are still unsure of Flipper’s breed and she has no fur, which remains a mystery.
Paul has instant hearts in his eyes: “Even with no hair she’s lovely to hold, she’s like shammy leather. I could clean my windows with you, couldn’t I Flipper?… I hope it grows back but even if it doesn’t, you’re still a beauty.”
Flipper was abandoned so young that she has to go back to basics with the help of the staff, who use ‘nanny’ dog Lola to help train her behaviour before rehoming can be considered. Can Lola help get her back on track?
Dogs are a huge responsibility and anyone thinking about getting one needs to make sure they are ready. Two weeks ago, Eli got two month old lurcher puppy Archie. He is trying to balance his work life with having a dog but the two just aren’t compatible.
Eli says: “I underestimated the undertaking of having a dog. I’m not ready to have a puppy. So that’s why I’ve brought him here today. Hopefully he’ll find a new home. I’ve always wanted a dog for as long as I can remember but I didn’t think it through. I can’t give him the time he needs. I do feel I’ve made a mistake.”
He has a stark warning for anyone making a quick decision about getting a dog: “If you’re going to get a dog, think about it. Really, really think about it beforehand because it’s a big responsibility.”
After handing Archie over to the capable hands of the Battersea staff, Eli is feeling emotional: “It was hard but I know he’s going to be well looked after. He’s a lovely little dog. I’m going to miss him. I’m really going to miss him.”
Six weeks later the Williams family, from Kent, spot Archie on the Battersea website and come to meet him. Will Archie get the new family he deserves?
Also this week, there’s an unexpected visit from comedian Alistair McGowan who pops in to the home looking for a new companion of his own.