For some dogs that enter the care of Forever Hounds Trust, the right forever home can be hard to find. This can be due to their physical or psychological health and well-being. In these cases, Forever Hounds Trust offers ‘supported homing’ whereby we agree to pay part or all vet costs associated with the dog’s condition if it means that the dog is homed to its ideal home and to people who are able and willing to take of the dog. We fund additional treatments because pre-existing conditions can prove unaffordable to prospective homing families, as these dogs will not be able to be insured. This enables these dogs to live in a loving forever home rather than long-term or permanently in kennels.
We can have as many as 50 such dogs in the ‘supported homing’ scheme at any one time. These are in addition to the dogs in our rented kennels and experienced foster homes and their costs are in addition to kennelling and veterinary costs for those dogs.
Supported homings are reviewed by the Board of Trustees on a case by case basis and we currently spend up to £30,000 in veterinary fees and sundry costs on these supported dogs each year. This scheme means we can feel confident that the dogs’ health and welfare is being met and that, in future, additional desperately needy hounds can be homed to families who will take special care of these dogs and support their conditions.
A current example of one of our Supported Dogs is Wispa.
Wispa is a Whippet Saluki cross. He had been abandoned in a dog pound in south east England and was due to be put to sleep when one of our volunteers rescued him from his plight.
Wispa walked with a strange gait which after an initial veterinary assessment was diagnosed as a neurological problem. We were advised that this condition would require future treatment, and so we homed him as a ‘Supported Dog’.
He has been in a lovely home in Gloucestershire for the past five years, but his condition deteriorated to the point where he could no longer lift his head. After his owner contacted us, we had him referred to a specialist neurologist vet where he has undergone delicate surgery to reduce the compression of the spinal cord, where it enters the brain.
We are anticipating a vet bill of £6,000 to £7,000 depending on the number of scans and further treatment Wispa may need.
Before Wispa’s surgery, his owner said: “We adopted a whippet saluki cross from FHT four years ago. He was 18 months old and had a neurological deficit. FHT agreed to cover any vets fees incurred with regard this condition, as he would be uninsurable.
“Sadly Whizzie’s health has deteriorated recently and following consultation with his vet we feel he would benefit from a referral to a neurologist. He is very much an important member of the family and we don’t want him to suffer unnecessarily”.
Once Wispa had come through this delicate surgery, she contacted us again: “Whizzie is through and awake! The vet is very pleased with how it went. Thank you so much – I want to share his story and tell everyone how wonderful FHT has been!”
The beautiful Wispa is now out of pain and danger. He is one of many supported dogs that can continue to be cared for in their forever homes due to our help.