Ossie, a golden Labrador, may not have been destined for a career as a guide dog but he does bring lots of joy and love to his new family.
Ossie was a working guide dog for a brief time, qualifying when he was under two. Just months later though he had to retire. He showed signs of distraction when working, and started to snap when anyone touched him in a certain area.
We soon discovered why. When Ossie returned to one of our training centres, we could see he had an odd gait, and one muscle was spasming when he was standing still. We suspected pain was an underlying cause and investigated with MRI and CT scans.
The results showed that Ossie had a slipped spinal disc that need an epidural. Unfortunately, we also discovered during this time that Ossie had developed a fear of handling by vets that caused him to snap. We had to work hard to create positive vet experiences, muzzle-train him, and prepare him for the possibility of future treatment.
Thankfully, we found a family that has both the willingness and capability to carry on with this work, and will also be alert to any signs of pain he may show in the future.
Ossie is a bright, fun, and tactile dog who loves toys and swimming. We are delighted he is bringing joy to his new home and getting the right support from people who are willing to commit to his long-term needs.
"After completing the rehoming forms, it took a little while before we were contacted by Guide Dogs to say there was a potential match for our family; and it was so worth the wait. Our experience has been everything we could have ever wished for, and more!
"Welcoming Ossie into our family home was filled with mixed emotions as rehoming was a result of a spinal injury he experienced whilst in service."
"A key part of Ossie's handover was clear guidance on how we needed to manage his weight through regulating his food intake and ensuring plenty of exercise, giving him the best chance of avoiding a recurrence of his injury.
"We have been relentless with our focus on these two recommendations and we're hoping this has paid dividends in the happy and healthy life Ossie leads today.
"Exercising Ossie brings us nothing but pleasure. He is a fascination to many people we meet on our walks and creates a curiosity when onlookers can see what a special dog he is.
"One of his favourite forms of exercise is swimming and is how he has earned his nickname, Ossie the Otter!
"Ossie is very loving boy, he tells you want he wants with his adorable smiles and on his terms.
"He is definitely top dog in our house. At times, he laps this up and works his magic to get everyone’s attention! He loves playing with our boys and in particular playing hide and seek with his favourite ball or dog biscuit.
"It’s such a responsibility but also a real privilege to care for Ossie and the rewards for us all are clear to see. We cannot thank Guide Dogs enough for the opportunity and consider it our duty to repay that in love and kindness to Ossie."