Dougal’s Story, Raffles Cockapoos

Puppy: Dougal

Dougal, bought from Raffles Cockapoos, Nantwich, Cheshire, April 2017

Collected Sunday 2nd April 2017 from Raffles Cockapoos, Cheshire

As a family we had been talking about getting a cockapoo for a while. We are not spontaneous and had taken a long time thinking about this and watching the Raffles Facebook page. We read through the reviews at length and all of the posts happy owners were posting and everything on the website.  It all seemed perfect. You read so many horror stories so if we were going to do this we intended to do it properly.

We had planned for the summer 2017. It was then we saw some photos on Facebook and our hearts took over. One thing led to another and on Friday March 31st we reserved our pup and arranged to collect him Sunday 2nd April 2017. It all happened so quickly. We were first time dog owners so it was all new, the excitement took over and any slight doubts were overlooked. Everyone had heard of the breeders so surely everything must be ok?

We started making arrangements to go and collect him, it was further away than we realised so planned to go the day before and stay with family. On Sunday we were so excited and arrived at the home to collect him, a little surprised that so many people were also there! But nothing was going to spoil this moment for us. Looking back I had questions I wanted to ask.

We were excited, had driven a long way and had our daughter with us and son waiting at home. We waited while lots of other families were handed their excited pups and some were choosing theirs. All a bit overwhelming. We were then handed our pup who seemed quieter than the others but we were reassured that this is completely normal for pups being taken away from familiar surroundings.

After about 5 minutes our new pup was sick on the sofa and he was quickly removed to the playpen and we were told it was probably the anxiety. He was sick again before we took him home. We had been told by friends how common it is for pups to be sick in the car.

We were given some bottled water and a bowl and advised to get him on the road as we had a long journey. He was sick all the way home every 10 minutes of the long journey but we were half expecting travel sickness and were unaware it was anything more.

We got home and he was quiet and sick, we still felt he was getting used to his surroundings as that is what we had been told. He had diarrhoea but remembered we were even given information about diarrhoea in puppies. We had never had a puppy before so at first also thought the lethargy was normal.

I did not want to be an over protective new puppy owner so we tried not to worry. I turned to the new forum I had joined For the love of Cockapoos for advice and emailed the breeders. The breeders were away but responded quickly advising me to go to the vets if concerned saying this is what the insurance is for.

Things quickly went downhill and then the bloody diarrhoea started. By 11pm that night, our first night home with our new puppy we were in the waiting room of the emergency vets. My life was turned upside down I was upset, confused and frustrated but absolutely defended the breeders as felt this was just bad luck.

The emergency vets told us he was very poorly and the best thing was to admit him. We left our new puppy and went home and were told we could phone in the morning. We had not even registered with a vet yet. The next morning still in disbelief about what had happened we arrived at the emergency vets where we saw our puppy again, strange how you can bond so quickly.

He had been on a drip all night and we were told we needed to find a vet to take him too. So off we went appreciating the cuddles on route to the new vets. We took him in and were told he was very sick. We were told lots of information about what it could be and they would treat him for dehydration while testing for all possible options. They were very clear and honest with us that he was very poorly and things could go either way.

What followed all seems such a blur and a distant memory now, but reading similar stories have brought it all back. We were confused, emotionally drained and wanted to make sense of the wholesituation. I went over everything that had happened and looked through all the information provided. It all looked professional, surely I had not let my heart rule my head?

The vets were truly amazing and threw everything at him they could and it wasn’t long before we received a phone call:  he had tested positive for Parvovirus and we were prepared for the worst. The breeders were in constant contact with us and our vets but they insisted 100% it was not parvovirus and no other pups were ill.

We turned to the vets who were looking after our pup and they provided a long list of research for us to read. We trusted the people who were caring for our pup 100%. Every day we had good news and bad news and we visited him by wearing protective clothing, shoes and gloves. The breeders offered to take him back. Again head said yes and heart said absolutely not. Our vets helped this decision by telling us he was too poorly to travel and we decided what would be would be and we clung on to every positive we saw.

He needed 3 plasma transfusions in the end and after a week of intensive care we finally heard the words we had been hoping for. He can go home! We were provided with disinfectant for all areas he had previously pooed in and for after all poo he was to do. We disposed of everything that he had previously and deep cleaned the area where he was.

Once we had him home we wanted to forget the whole situation and requests to the breeders to pay for the excess were agreed. They told us Pet Plan would pay the rest. When they did not pay out we turned to the breeders to pay and they did. We felt strongly that we could put this behind us and despite some of our feelings and thoughts and questions we had felt we wanted to see closure and sent a final email to the breeders thanking them for paying and for how they handled things.

I still wanted it to be an isolated incident. I hate any form of bad feeling. This email was then used without my permission on their website. I received a rather angry phone-call from the breeders after I had spoken to another owner who also had a pup with parvo. Then came a rather horrible email. I was banned from the forum where I had initially got so much support. The reports of poorly pups kept appearing, each time bringing it all back.

I am a caring person and was still left a little uneasy at the thought of anyone else going through a similar situation. I was also aware that had we not acted so quickly my story maybe very different. I wanted to protect owners and their pups. I only had my experience and my feelings. As time went on I saw and read other people with similar stories.

My message to others is go with your head and gut not your heart, be suspicious, ask questions and do your research. If you only see positive comments or reviews ask yourself why. There will always be good and bad experiences. I would rather hear a balanced view. I cannot see why people would ever make up a story. It has been most unpleasant reliving this and I have done so to bring awareness. If he had been a healthy pup I probablywould not even be aware of other ill pups. I am glad to hear there are people who have had healthy pups and I can understand why they question the bad stories as it has taken all this time to truly sink in for me and I experienced it.

For people who have healthy pups no-one is questioning that, so I just ask please that for those of us who have had bad experiences, we are shown the same understanding.

I am truly saddened to hear about puppies that have been ill or have not made it.