Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs
Published: Fri 31 May 2013
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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 six, Paul catches up with the Jack Russell and Staffie cross puppies he met earlier in the series. Now nearly four weeks old, the adorable puppies are all thriving and ready to be weaned. Paul helps them try solid food for the first time, after being hand reared by staff at Battersea since birth, given bottles every two hours day and night. Despite one of the pups taking a toilet break under Paul’s leg yet again, he is still smitten and fighting the urge to take them home.
Paul has an offer that the pups can’t refuse, a star turn in the primetime Animal Honours television awards show but first there is the perfect excuse for him to give them some rehearsal time.
Also this week, a young stray Staffie-Bullmastiff cross called Amber is brought in by a warden, in a terrible state. Bruised, battered and with nasty open wounds, she’s a shocking sight and the staff suspect she’s had a particularly horrible history, perhaps used as bait for dog fights.
Battersea vet nurse Nicky Burville says: “As you can see she’s generally quite dirty and the wounds are quite infected so we’ve got her on a course of antibiotics and we’re just going to try and clean them as much as possible. She very nervous, so it’s a case of going very slowly…and lots of ham!”
Paul pays Amber a visit: “It sickens me what some people do to these poor animals. It’s beyond belief that this sweet and gentle dog has probably been muzzled and treated as a punch-bag for fighting dogs… Shameful isn’t it? I’m lost for words, I’ll be honest, and that doesn’t happen all the time. I don’t know how anybody could do this.”
Amber is afraid of other dogs and Battersea’s behaviourist Helen has her work cut out trying to rebuild her confidence and social skills, before a new home can be considered.
While such cruelty is thankfully rare, abandoning dogs is rather more common and it happens a lot to ex-racing Greyhounds whose lives on the tracks have come to an end.
Willow was once a prize-winning racer, but is now retired and has been at Battersea for six months. Willow is phobic of stairs and his legs physically shake when he attempts to climb them. But with a potential new family in a first floor flat waiting in the wings, Paul steps in, determined to help Willow overcome his fear.
Paul tries his most persuasive skills: “Now I’ve only ever met one person who didn’t do stairs Willow and that was Mariah Carey. So we don’t want none of that nonsense.”