SPCA New Zealand

From rescued to rehomed: Hugo's story

27 February 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 Hugo, who had a terrible case of mange and a long road to recovery.

From rescued to rehomed: Hugo's story

Rescue and treatment

Back in July 2022, Inspectors brought Hugo into the care of our Māngere Centre. Our team was shocked by his awful condition, and knew we had to get to work right away.

This poor boy had a severe case of mange - a painful parasitic skin condition –and wasn’t weight-bearing as he should due to joint issues. His health had deteriorated due to his poor living conditions; he was weak, and his eyes showed nothing but fear. It was clear this pup was in need of urgent help.

The vet team acted quickly, making sure he was warm, fed and comfortable, and started Hugo on a course of medication. They also gave him flea treatment, and moved him on to a specific large-breed puppy diet to provide additional nutrition.

On top of that, it was decided that Hugo required additional antibiotics to treat a secondary skin condition.

A remarkable recovery

Through all of this, Hugo was so resilient. The team were relieved to see him gaining strength, his medication for his mange was kicking in, revealing a beautiful brindle coat which was finally able to come through, and he was showing off his playful puppy behaviour with the staff.

Our Canine Team Leader Meihana told us how he settled in. “He became very easy-going, and a bit of a goofball. Recovery-wise, we really had to push the boundaries – it was touch and go at the start of his treatment." He also interacted well around other dogs, and his carers knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

Progress was slow, and by no means easy, but as the weeks went on, Hugo became completely unrecognisable from the small, scared pup that our Inspectors brought into the Centre on day one.

Hugo before and after being cared for by SPCA.
Hugo before and after being cared for by SPCA.

A loving foster and forever home

As Hugo needed a bit longer to fully recover before he was ready to be listed for adoption, he needed to go into foster care.

Foster parents play a hugely important role for SPCA, and these amazing volunteers give animals the opportunity to experience a home environment while they continue to rest and recover. Fostering also frees up the limited space in the Centres to make way for new incoming animals.

At first there was a bit of a wait, as there were no foster homes able to take Hugo. But then the big day came, and Hugo was taken out of the Māngere Centre and into the loving care of his new foster mum Erin. While there, he continued to receive medication for his mange, and became stronger and happier with every passing day.

Fostering went well, to say the least – we were thrilled that foster mum Erin decided that she just couldn’t part ways with Hugo, and decided to adopt him!

“He is the most adorable boy, we just couldn’t give him back,” she said. It was lovely to hear about the special connection that Hugo built with the family’s other dog, a five-year-old Golden Retriever, Bailey.

Hugo and Bailey became inseparable.
Hugo and Bailey became inseparable.

“He is so incredibly affectionate and loves cuddles with both humans and Bailey. They get on so well, and Hugo is always trying to do everything Bailey does – including having something in his mouth when people visit, which is a real ‘Retriever’ thing to do,” Erin told us.

“He was quite nervous of water to begin with, but with some encouragement and watching Bailey he loves it now. He settled in really well, and except for a few mischievous puppy antics is a really well behaved dog. We couldn’t imagine life without him.”

Bailey taught Hugo how to play around water.
Bailey taught Hugo how to play around water.

We couldn’t be happier to see bonds like this form, and see animals find their loving forever homes.

Do you want to help deserving dogs in New Zealand, like Hugo? Here is how you can change a dog’s life today:

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