Hazell has brought in Dandi, a five month-old German Shepherd puppy who’s been diagnosed with severe elbow dysplasia making him lame on both front legs. Noel is his last chance and needs to thoroughly assess him, before Hazell has to decide on Dandi’s future…
The story of Dandi is without doubt one of the most heart wrenching to appear so far in our TV show. This beautiful dog had serious orthopaedic disease affecting both elbows and both hip joints which was causing constant pain and discomfort. With Dandi facing major surgery on every one of his legs, his family had to consider whether this the right thing for Dandi in these particular circumstances. Knowing Dandi better than anyone else, knowing how hard he would find being hospitalised for extended periods of time and knowing that there were possible complications, Dandi’s family made the tough decision to let Dandi pass away peacefully.
Taking on the role of guardian and carer for any pet comes with great responsibility, you have to make some tough decisions in a pet’s lifetime. Saying goodbye is one of the toughest decisions you have to make as the family of a dog, and Dandi’s ‘mum’ did what she felt was right for Dandi and for her family. She has our unequivocal support.
In Noel’s words
I am deeply upset and sad that we had to say goodbye to Dandi, as are all of my team, but I believe that in these particular circumstances it was the right thing to do. I firmly believe that as it becomes possible to do almost anything surgically, it is ever more pertinent that what we do is morally and ethically the right thing to do for each and every animal and for each and every animal family. My vocation is to look after one animal in one moment in time for one family that loves that animal. It is never enough to be able to do something, it must be the right thing to do for that animal. I will never pick up a scalpel blade and perform surgery unless I feel that I am doing my very best to alleviate pain or suffering and that I have a good chance of success. The best longer-term quality of life for that particular animal is always paramount in my thoughts.
The hardest part of my vocation is holding a paw of much loved family member and the hand of a grieving family as we have to say goodbye, but yet this is as much a part of my life, as is surgical or medical success. I am grateful therefore to Channel 4 and to Hazell, Dandi’s ‘mum’ for being brave enough to allow this to be shown. I do not believe it’s right to only show success and happiness. That is not real life. I believe we have a moral responsibility for all animals on the planet and I feel strongly that part of that responsibility is having the compassion and integrity to allow an animal to pass peacefully away when all options have been considered and when we feel in consultation with the animal’s family, that it’s the right thing to do. This is why we take our oath as a veterinary surgeon – the animal’s welfare always comes first.
I am very sorry if showing Dandi’s passing causes upset or distress to any viewer of Channel 4, but I believe in my heart that we all need to accept that death is an integral part of existence and that we must accept two universal truths. Firstly, we are all living creatures and we are all ‘passing through’. What we must do for the greater good is to love and care for each other and for all of our animal friends. Secondly, though it is really difficult and painful sometimes, we have a moral responsibility as a compassionate and caring society, to look after the welfare of our animal friends and to always do the right thing for the animal.
We shall all remember Dandi. Our most sincere sympathy and condolences go out to Hazell and her family following the loss of this beautiful dog. Thank you for loving as much as you do Hazell, because that unconditional and selfless love, even in all of its pain and difficulty, is what gives me the faith to keep going in what I do each and every day.