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Sarah and Nugget

Member name: Sarah

Pet name: Nugget

Pet breed: St Bernard cross

Pet age: 5 years old

1. What made you get Nugget in the first place?

Nugget came to us as a short-term foster placement from the RSPCA in December 2017. He had been part of a massive cruelty case where 10 Newfoundland’s and Nugget and his brother were found abandoned in a barn in terrible conditions. We have been owned by Bernese Mountain dogs for over 20 years so we have experience of large breeds. Nugget was struggling in kennels so we took him on to try and get him fit and healthy and ready for his forever home. When he was rescued, he only weighed 30kg (half of what he should be). After a couple of days we realised we would be his forever home as he was such an amazing dog. He now weighs a very healthy 60kg.

2. Why did you choose this breed?

Nugget chose us! We love big dogs anyway so it wasn’t hard to fall in love with him even though he was very smelly.

3. What is the most rewarding thing you have found about owning a pet?

The unconditional love that my dogs give. The friendships that I have made through my dogs and certainly during lockdown the reason to get up and walking every morning

4. Have you encountered any problems (illnesses, behavioural, social) with Nugget?

Apart from the constant slobber Nugget has been fairly fit and healthy despite his terrible start in life. During lockdown he was diagnosed with a cyst on his spinal cord. But with rest and pain relief we manage the condition without surgery.

5. What is your top tip for people thinking about adding a pet to their family?

Choose your pet wisely so it fits in with your family. Don’t take on a dog that needs long walks every day if you have limited time. Research the breed you are interested in, join breed clubs and go along to any meet ups that are advertised. This way you get to meet the owners who can give you an honest account of what it is like to live with that breed.

6. Do you have any funny stories to share with us about Nugget?

Nugget has an amazing talent of being able to flick his industrial strength slobber so it sticks to the ceiling and sets like concrete. He loves rolling on his back in long grass, but his favourite thing is to sleep on the sofa. Nugget and I now volunteer for the charity, Therapy Dogs Nationwide. During non-covid times we visit a dementia care home, where the staff and residents love him. We also visit two schools every week where Nugget listens to children with emotional/social difficulties read. He has made a huge impact on the children he meets. We also visit offices to promote positive mental health. He is one truly special dog who brings a smile to so many people’s faces.

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