By Cara Sulieman
A DOG nicknamed ‘Grumpy Stumpy’ spent almost a year mastering how to go to the toilet – after an operation to amputate his front limb left him tumbling over every time he went for a wee.
The Lhasa Apso, now called Harry, had been taken to Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home after suffering from horrific neglect.
But the dog struggled to adapt to life on three legs when he found a new home and kept falling over every time he went to the toilet.
David Ewing, 53, General Manager at the home, said: “Harry came in as a stray dog.
“The first thing we noticed was that his front leg was grossly swollen and his hair was extremely matted and we knew something was very, very wrong with that leg.
“We took his to the Royal Dick Vet School near Penicuik where they immediately identified gangrene in the leg which was caused by the hair twisting around and cutting off the blood supply.
“The leg was useless and to be taken off to save his life.”
But it was the after effects that took a toll.
David said: “He tried to lift his leg to go to the toilet and kept falling over and banging his head on the floor.
“It was awful because you wanted to laugh but knew that it wasn’t that funny for him.”
But now, a year on, and the old dog has learned new tricks under current Doreen McTernan.
She took six-year-old Harry back to her home in Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, in April 200, and he has settled in with her and her husband Brian.
And she said that he has learnt to master a two leg balancing act.
She said: “He’s adapted really well to having three legs. He can go to the toilet beautifully on two legs.
“The only trouble he has is if it is wet and he slips a bit.
“We regularly check his teeth to make sure he hasn’t damaged them as he’s hit his jaw off the ground. He doesn’t have any other health problems at all.”
She saw Harry on the internet and came down to have a look with her husband, Brian.
The couple have had dogs for the last 37 years and got their first pet together from the Edinburgh Cat and Dog Home.
After coming to visit Harry a number of times, the couple took him home on April 19 last year.
Doreen said: “I couldn’t get my tongue around Ernie.
“We asked our family and one of our nieces, Alison, came up with the name Harry and he loves it.
“We haven’t had many problems with him – he put a terrible fight when we tried to groom him.
“But he’s got used to that now and it’s not a problem.
“He doesn’t like older men and will bark at them a little bit but that’s about it.
“He also won’t go near people wearing black dress trousers so I don’t know if that’s something to do with his previous owner.
“But he loves other dogs, he is always going up and saying hello to them.
“We take him out to the country and he loves to run about – he’s made friends with the chickens and given the cockerel a run for the money.
“We take him wherever we go – he’s even been up the top of Elgin Tower.
“He has been through it but has come out the other side.”
It is a huge difference to the Lhasa Apso that was brought in by the police at the start of 2009.
Found in the city centre, he was left in the night kennel which is left open for the police to access during the night.
When staff at the centre went to check on him the next morning, what they found was a dog in pain and in danger of dying.
Even after the operation, Harry was nicknamed Grumpy Stumpy by staff at the centre as he was still wary of being treated, snarling at strangers.
David added: “He wasn’t a very happy chappy so we named him Grumpy Stumpy.
“But within a matter of weeks there was a huge difference in his attitude.
“Obviously he was in a fair amount of pain when he first came in but after the operation and as he got more trusting of people he cheered up.”
And staff that Harry bonded with at the home are still able to spend time with the plucky pooch when he comes to stay.
David said: “He’s been in for his holidays and remembers all the staff who worked with him before – I don’t think he will ever forget them.
“He’s just such a nice rounded dog, just what you would expect to see but for him it is a massive difference.
“His coat is beautiful there’s a lot of hard work on Doreen’s part.
“It has made a huge difference to him now that he has a good home.
“Everything about him exudes confidence.”
To learn more and Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, follow this link.
* PICTURES by Mike Byrne