FOR Ella Bleu, treats and walkies are a brand new concept, yet this is a four-year-old Labrador – one that has never known what it is like to have a real family or home, until now.
Ella was rescued from a puppy farm where she was used as a breeding machine, with the physical effects taking a terrible toll on her body. She has been left with a droopy under carriage, little muscle tone, and bilateral cataracts in her eyes, meaning she will lose her sight within a couple of years.
Having never even had her own bed, Ella has now found devoted owners in Stedham who have taken her in and given her a home alongside her new sister, Lottie, also a rescue dog.
Many Tears is a charity that saves dogs that would otherwise be disposed of.
Fosterers then pick dogs once they are ready, and care for them until they find a suitable permanent home.
Ella’s first port of call was Vicky Charlwood, one of the fosterers regularly taking in dogs and finding them homes.
“I have always loved dogs, and always wanted to find a way to help, and now I can,” she said.
Vicky has four Dachshund cross terriers of her own, and a steady stream of rescue dogs she looks after. She had Ella for around four weeks before her new adoptive owners came to see her.
Vicky said: “People expect rescue dogs to have no idea how to behave, but they are actually very good –they are just so grateful to be given a home.
“Dogs seem to have an innate relationship with humans and when they are given the opportunity to be cared for, they bloom.
“Ella was just such a good dog and clearly so happy and grateful to be looked after. Her new owners are absolute heroes.”
A retired couple from Stedham took her in so their existing dog could have a new companion.
Ella’s new owner said: “We already have a black rescue Labrador, and wanted another one to keep her company so we found Ella, and they are best friends now, they’re inseparable.
“She was used purely for breeding, so has not had much of a ‘young’ life.
“Ella has never known what it was like to be a puppy, but now she is getting those years back again.
“She really is a lovely dog.”
Having had a terrible start to life, Ella is now quite happy playing with her new best friend and finding out what it means to be a puppy.
She will need surgery in the future to repair her sight, which will be carried out by veterinary surgeon Robert Lowe, who specialises in opthalmology.