When we arrived, it wasn't a pretty sight! He was now shaved from head to tail and he stank!
But, far from being at death's door, he was full of life and enthusiastically playing with a squeaky toy. I saw hope.
He had been found on the streets, wandering, and it was clear he had some health issues from the lumps on his body and his weight. His coat was matted and it had had to go. But, the warden thought he deserved a chance and I was happy to look after him for a week or two.
"Just make him comfortable, but know that he might not make it," I was warned. On my watch? Of course he was going to make it.
But I couldn't keep him. I already had two cats, Dillon and Daisy, who had lived here for six years and they hid in the airing cupboard from this smelly creature that invaded their space. I couldn't really blame them, but it was only for a week or so.
I should probably point out that by now, he had a new name. Bailey. I mean, I wasn't going to keep him but I didn't like the name Shrimp and I wanted something appropriate. If you have seen the film "It's A Wonderful Life" you may recall the bit when George Bailey leans over the bridge saying, "I want to live again". Well, this fella did too so it was either George or Bailey.
You know, just for the month or so I had him.
I fed him on puppy food as he was so poorly. I bathed him every day and soothed his sore skin. I massaged him all over. I let him sleep as much as he wanted so his body could repair. I took him for tiny walks, five minutes at the most, and carried him when he could walk no more. We went to the vet two days later and he was so lethargic I pulled over twice to check he was still breathing. We met his saviour Donna at the vet's and, immediately, he was a hit with everyone but, still, despite his wagging tail he was far from out of the woods.