Dog who was found abandoned on Hemel Hempstead building site has a new leash of life

Olive the tsi-shuh
Olive the tsi-shuh

A gorgeous shih tzu who was discovered abandoned on a building site in Hemel and cried whenever she was touched now loves nothing better than cuddling up to her new owner.

The Gazette first reported on little Olive in January, when the RSPCA found she had severe ear and eye infections and abscesses all over her head and neck.

Olive abandoned front

Olive abandoned front

She has now been united with a new owner who has renamed her Betty, and will appear on the Channel 5 Dog Rescuers show on Tuesday evening at 8pm.

Olive was found by a member of the public cowering behind a pallet of bricks on a building site. She was so matted she could barely move and cried out in pain every time she tried to move her head.

RSPCA inspector Stephanie Law was called in to investigate how the trembling, soaking wet dog had got into such a state and who was responsible for cruelly dumping her.

He said: “When I saw Olive for the first time I was really, really upset. Her coat was really badly matted and she had terrible infections in her eyes and ears.

“She just looked a complete state, she wouldn’t move, she looked so bad, I haven’t seen a dog look that bad and still be alive to be honest.

“She’d yelp in pain when you tried to move her head and you could tell she was in such discomfort I just felt really, really sorry for her. The fact someone could just leave her in that state, it really upset me.”

The pooch was taken to Wood Street Veterinary Hospital where she was examined under sedation.

It was only after she’d been clipped that the scale of her injuries became clear. She had massive swellings around her head and neck, and her eyes were so badly swollen she couldn’t open them.

Olive also had a terrible ear infection and needed intensive treatment of antibiotics, eye drops and medicated baths every two hours.

Inspector Law added: “She was obviously in a lot of pain, she was already on quite a high dose of morphine and antibiotics and she was just totally unresponsive.”

While she recovered, Olive was fostered by the vet nurse Emily Brown. The little dog soon settled in with Emily’s other dog, 15-year-old shih tzu cross Benji, and her five cats and two ferrets.

Emily quickly realised she couldn’t face being parted with Olive and adopted her, giving her a new name too: “She looks like a little old lady no offence to any Bettys out there but we just wanted to give her a little old lady name, so we called her Betty.

“I knew I wanted her straight away. She was just broken, she seemed exhausted, the things she must have gone through. I just knew she had to come home with me.

“Slowly over time you could see her character coming back, she was starting to trust us all.”

Her sight fully returned and Betty bonded with Benji: “She is obsessed with Benji, she absolutely loves him. If they’re apart for a long time, Betty gets really upset.”And, the dog who once couldn’t even be touched without crying out in pain, now loves cuddles with her owner.

“She’s really sassy and has such a cute personality, she’s really cuddly but can be really playful at the same time,” Emily said.

“She’s just perfect, I don’t know how anyone could have treated her the way they did. She’s just incredible.”

Unfortunately, Betty wasn’t microchipped when she was found so no one was ever traced and investigated for allowing her to suffer.

Betty is one of 8,009 dogs rescued by the RSPCA last year - that’s nearly one every hour.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care visit www.rspca.org.uk/give or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3. Texts cost £3 plus one standard network rate message.