Shep, United Kingdom
Shep, a handsome border collie, came into Madeleine and Gareth Wynne's life when he was 2 yrs young. His original owner had become ill and had entrusted his elderly parents to look after him. However, Shep being like most border collies was full of endless energy and became more than his caretakers could handle, so they decided to ask for help from a local rescue to find Shep the perfect home.
Coincidentally around this same time and still heartbroken over the loss of their previous dog, Madeleine and her husband Gareth had let the very same local rescue know that while they were not ready at the moment, they would like to be considered in the future if another dog needed a home. Well the future came in only 2 days when they were called about Shep. They were desperate to find him a good home and the Wynnes simply could not refuse.
Shep certainly lives up to his breed with his Intensity, emotional connection with those around him and by the fact that he's a little crazy, making it easy for the Wynnes to fall instantly in love with him.
Possibly because he was previously cared for by elderly parents, Shep showed a natural connection to those in their golden years and demonstrated this with his attachment to Madeleine's parents, Arthur and Margaret, both in their 80's. From the minute they met, Shep was drawn to them and their relationship continued to strengthen over time.
The depth of their bond became clear when Madeleine's father went into hospital and Shep became incredibly depressed. He took quite a while to recover emotionally. Over time, not only did Shep improve once Arthur came home, but Shep was also instrumental in helping with Arthur's recovery.
Shep is so intuitive that he has a remarkable ability to truly be there for everyone in his family. He can pick up on when people need him and emotionally connect with them in order to support and cheer up anyone not feeling 100%. His ability to love and his zest for life makes the world and the people around him happier.
"When he looks at you with such intensity, you feel like you are the only person that matters."
For the past 5 years Shep, who is now 14 yrs in age, has been challenged with epilepsy and more recently, arthritis in his hips. Thanks to medication and regular exercise they have been able to manage his conditions quite successfully, but as he ages it is becoming an increasing challenge.
Still so enthusiastic, they often have to manage his excitement to ensure he doesn't do more than his body can cope with, so they have found ways to allow Shep to continue to do the things he loves, but in a way that doesn't impact his health.
However being such an emotionally sensitive dog, Shep's state of mind does impact his health. When Shep started to struggle he became depressed and would lay down for long periods leading to joint stiffness and making mobility even more difficult.
Having hardwood floors further complicated the situation making getting up and staying up more challenging for Shep. Making matters worse, the more Shep struggled, the more he lost confidence and started to lose his desire to keep trying. He became so upset at his difficulties that he began to lose his spark that was once so apparent.
Watching our dogs struggle and feeling powerless to help them is one of the toughest things we as pet parents can go through, so Madeleine began looking for ways to give Shep back some traction. In her search she found many different types of non-slip dog socks, but they only had the grip on the bottom of the paw which Madeleine had concerns about and then she found Dog Quality and Grippers dog traction socks.
"When I saw that the rubber grip was all the way around the paws I knew I had found the perfect solution because even if the socks twist they would still provide traction."
He was previously so depressed that Shep had started to give up, but once he realized that he could get up on those floors, he started to walk more and lay down less and as a result he started to improve quite rapidly. As Shep became stronger on his legs he was able to walk further and can now get out more often with his family which has given him a new lease on life.
Not only did his Grippers help give Shep the traction he needed to get himself up on the hardwood, but it also helped him on an emotional level.
"With the help of the socks he began to get his confidence back and that cheered him up."
Around this time something changed with Shep's epilepsy. They started noticing that certain sounds like keys rattling, lapping sounds of the water hitting the bowl when he drank and even the sound of his own nails on the hardwood would trigger an attack and cause him to twitch and even fall. Shep had developed what is known as stimulus-sensitive epilepsy. What they found was if he was wearing his Grippers dog socks, then if he had an attack they would help to stabilize him and prevent him from falling. They also prevented his nails from making the clicking sound that often triggered an attack.
"Prior to having the socks Shep would walk on the rugs and when he'd come up to the hardwood, his nails would hit the floor and that sound would make him fall over. It was a horrible situation."
The situation became so bad that Shep would find himself stranded on the rugs, not even venturing across the floor to drink for fear of triggering an attack and falling down. By having him wear his socks they can ensure that even if he has a seizure that he won't slip or fall.
"The Grippers socks are a lifesaver for Shep and he wears them much of the time at home. With the help of the socks Shep can get around the house without slipping or falling over and this keeps his confidence up so he can lead a normal life."
Shep's light is beaming again thanks to the loving efforts of his family. The more active Shep is able to be, the happier he is and he can finally get back to 'celebrity status' because Shep is like a magnet drawing people to him wherever he goes. Now that he's out and about more, he has more opportunities to shine, more opportunities to enjoy life and more opportunities to spend quality time with the family he adores.