SPCA New Zealand

From rescued to rehomed: Bluebell's story

19 April 2023

Here at SPCA, we have dozens of animals come through our doors every day. Our ‘rescued to rehomed’ stories share just some of the tales of those who come into our care, like Bluebell, who was found with serious injuries to her mouth resulting in missing teeth.

From rescued to rehomed: Bluebell's story

The rescue

When SPCA Inspector Danielle approached a kennel in a large paddock in December last year, she was appalled to find seven abandoned dogs.

Someone had contacted SPCA and reported that the dogs had been unattended for approximately six days, with no food or water.

It was a very hot day, and Danielle had travelled to the location hoping that the report was not true. Unfortunately, the state of the dogs made it immediately clear that what SPCA had been told was accurate.

One of the dogs stood out; later named Bluebell, Danielle could see that this poor girl had a terrible wound to her muzzle.

“I remember she sat down very patiently with her tail wagging, just waiting for me to get her. I instantly fell in love with her. Despite the wound to her face, she was the sweetest dog. You could tell she was so happy to see someone, and almost like she knew I was there to help her.”

While Bluebell was in a particularly bad way, Danielle knew she had to get all of the dogs out and to safety, and to ensure they got food and water as quickly as possible.

“As there were so many of them, I had to clip Bluebell securely into the front seat of the truck with me. She was loving the air con! Sitting there looking at me with those puppy dog eyes and drifting off to sleep on the journey, I think she knew she was in good hands,” Danielle said.

“It was just one of those moments where you think – this is why I do what I do.”

When first found, Bluebell had a terrible facial injury.
When first found, Bluebell had a terrible facial injury.

Assessment at the Centre

Danielle took Bluebell and the other rescued dogs straight to our SPCA Nelson Centre, where they received immediate vet consults.

As Bluebell’s mouth looked severely damaged, vets decided to sedate her so that a thorough examination could be completed without causing her any pain or distress.

It was quickly discovered that poor Bluebell was missing tissue on her nose, and had scar tissue already developing on her upper and lower jaw. She was also missing her incisor teeth, and her canine teeth were broken and wobbly.

It was clear she’d suffered a severely traumatic injury, but it was impossible to know for sure what had caused this sort of damage.

One possibility the vet team considered was that she had fallen from a vehicle, as she also had scars from injuries on her legs and rear end. As well as her injuries, Bluebell was also incredibly underweight, and her coat was in terrible condition.

Despite the obvious and devastating level of neglect – this beautiful girl remained friendly, and excited to receive love and affection from the people around her.

“Bluebell is just one of those cases that I know I’ll remember forever. You could see how much she’d been neglected and how much she’d suffered, but she was still ready for cuddles, love, and human interaction.”

Bluebell remained friendly and affectionate throughout her ordeal.
Bluebell remained friendly and affectionate throughout her ordeal.

Treatment and the long road to recovery

Our Animal Attendant Kasia played a huge role in Bluebell’s recovery.

“We started with her medication plan and kept her on antibiotics, pain relief and anti-inflammatories for one month. I would bathe her, and make sure her kennel was always kept clean and dry, just to get her used to feeling clean. She was always happy to see people! She greeted you with a wagging tail and really enjoyed cuddles,” Kasia said.

The team were pleased with how quickly she gained weight too, as it meant they could proceed with her dental surgery.

“Once she was in good body condition, she was able to undergo the dental treatment where we said goodbye to her canine teeth.”

Having the loose teeth removed was an obvious relief for Bluebell – and although she now has a unique gummy smile, we think she couldn’t possibly look any sweeter.

Kasia explained how the whole team quickly became attached to her beautiful personality.

“She had so much life in her, a lot of joy, and love for people. Her demeanor didn’t change, despite her physical ordeal. She quickly became an “office dog” who just loves to sleep next to her human.”

A loving forever home

After a bit more recovery time, and with her desexing surgery complete, Bluebell was at last ready to find a new home.

Our team at the Nelson Centre couldn’t have been happier when Karina reached out after seeing Bluebell’s adoption profile over on our website.

Karina told us she knew that she’d found the right dog from the moment she saw her profile.

“As soon as I looked at website, I knew she was right for us. Once meeting her in the morning face-to-face, I couldn't wait to finalise the adoption and bring her home that night!” she said.

“We have since renamed Bluebell to Isabella, and she has settled beautifully into family life. She absolutely adores people. Her favourite activity is chasing her ball! But she also loves riding in the car to go for walks, and cuddles on the couch at night.”

“My two teenage boys love playing with her, but also teaching her boundaries. I couldn’t imagine my life without her.”

We can’t thank Karina and her family enough for giving Isabella the second chance she deserved. We know that this sweet girl has a very bright future ahead, filled with love and happiness alongside her new forever family.

“I would recommend adoption to anyone who can give the time and love to these animals that deserve a second chance at life.”

Bluebell, now named Isabella, has found happiness with her new family.
Bluebell, now named Isabella, has found happiness with her new family.

We’re also pleased to report that the other abandoned dogs that were found with Bluebell made their own recoveries, and have moved on to their new homes too. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for these deserving darlings.

If you’re considering adopting, head over to www.spca.nz/adopt to view all the animals waiting to be chosen right now.

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