SPCA New Zealand

Bowie’s remarkable journey

22 December 2023

Meet the resilient young dog who stole the hearts of our Levin team, making an incredible transformation after a rough start to life.

Bowie’s remarkable journey

When a small black staffy cross pup was brought into the care of our Levin Centre, our team were heartbroken at the sight.

The wee dog had a clear deformity, with his front legs splayed at odd angles, and when he walked he was unable to carry his weight properly.

Nat, our Animal Care Attendant at the Centre, told us how hard it was to witness.

“He was just delivered into our arms, a little bundle of black… he had the most spindly front legs we’d seen,” Nat said. “It was heart-breaking to see this pup suffering.”

After a vet examination, it was confirmed that the dog’s bowed legs were a result of rickets, a condition that affects bone development and causes pain, poor growth and soft, weak bones that can lead to bone deformities. For this pup, it had done just this, leading him to be affectionately named Bowie after his bowed leg shape.

Although there was no certainty that improvements could be made or whether he could recover, he’d already stolen the team’s hearts, and we were determined to try to give Bowie the second chance at life he deserved.

“Despite his condition, Bowie was just a bright ball of energy!” Nat said. “He was always stumbling and scrambling his way across the carpet in an awkward but exuberant flurry of activity. It didn’t slow him down.”

It was so encouraging to see Bowie show so much excitement and affection, even after having such an uncertain start to life. His sweet nature and enthusiasm for playtime indicated that he was quite unaware of his differences.

Bowie was unable to walk properly on his front legs.
Bowie was unable to walk properly on his front legs.

On vet advice, it was decided that Bowie would receive calcium supplements, and a special type of puppy food to help his legs. The team also laid out carpet inside his pen to make it easier and more comfortable for him to move around.

With special rehabilitative exercises with the team three times a day, Bowie’s legs slowly but surely began to change.

“It was so rewarding to see Bowie’s legs begin to straighten and strengthen through good nutrition, rehabilitation, and exercise. Each week, the progress that he showed was amazing,” Nat said.

When he was strong enough, little Bowie left the Centre to spend some much-needed time in foster care. Here he had the wonderful chance to experience life inside a loving home, and away from a shelter environment for the first time.

With his desexing surgery now done and dusted too, Bowie is waiting to be adopted!

Bowie SPCA dog

“Bowie is no longer ‘Bowie’,” Nat told us. “Today he’s a confident, healthy, and happy young dog, looking for his forever home.”

“We have so many people to thank – the vet, our fosterers and Centre team, who kept the faith and worked together to help Bowie through a very difficult time of his life.”

We couldn’t be more thrilled for this little trooper, and we can’t wait to see him find his perfect family.

Interested in adopting? Check out all of the animals waiting over at www.spca.nz/adopt.

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