Written in memory of Oliver (Ollie) Nicholls born April 2005 sadly went to the Bridge 19th May 2006. A Gorgeous bundle of Chocolate Heaven.
I write this on behalf of my dearest friend and neighbour, who has asked me to tell the story of Ollie's short life, in the hope that it will help and educate others.
Ollie was born into a litter of 8 other wonderful chocolate Labradors; his parents were both owned by a family who thought that it would be 'educational' for their children to see puppies being born, aside from the fact this was the second litter that their children had been 'educated' by.
In hindsight, which as we all know is a great thing, the alarm bells should have been screaming at this point; but we were assured by the owner/breeder that both Labs had been Hip scored and Eye tested and we were shown the pieces of paper with the information on.
Ollie who was now 14 weeks old was brought home to Essex, sitting in the back with me and my Labrador Jack, who duly 'put puppy in his place' but this was the beginning of a wonderful friendship between the 2 Labs, all but sadly cut short.
Ollie came everywhere we went, being neighbours, I popped in on Ollie daily and picked him up to come on our walks, both afternoon and evening.
The limp was first noticeable a few months later, it started out as very slight and got more noticeable as the weeks went on, he was taken to the vets and they advised limited exercise as it could just be 'growing pains', this sadly was not the case, so the vet took some X-rays and the worst was confirmed; Ollie had ED/OCD in BOTH Elbows, the prognosis was not good.
His mum decided that she would do everything she could do help him, so she took him to the best Ortho vet she could find and he had surgery on both elbows, they took away the over growth of bone and pinned both Elbows.
This however meant that the poor pup who was only 9 months old was unable to weight bear on either of his front legs, but he would hobble around, buoyed up with firstly Rimadyl, which nearly killed him after a reaction to it; then Metacam, with high doses of Cortaflex, Glucosamine and Chondroiton and Green Lipped Muscle extract. We used to say we are surprised he didn't rattle!
Over the next few months, he developed infections in the wounds and had to go backwards and forwards to the vets, he was in so much pain, then in November 2005 disaster struck, his back legs went!
Ollie was taken to the vets and diagnosed with cruciate ligament tears to his hind legs, this meant yet another operation, where they also decided to remove the pins from the front legs due to the infection rate. So Ollie was operated on, the poor little guy. Not a month had gone by that he hadn't visited the vet for one reason or another, the staff loved him to bits and when his mum went on holiday, they actually 'kennelled' him at the vets so they could give him the special care he needed.
A few more months went by, Christmas came and went and Ollie sadly was finding it more and more difficult to walk, and to go to the toilet, it was heartbreaking to watch him struggle to get up, he would shuffle along on his bottom, holding his front legs in front of him like a Kangaroo, his tongue lolling, that cheeky Labbie grin on his face.
By Spring, things had not improved and the vet told his mum that there was nothing more they could do for him, it was unlikely he would be able to walk again and that the kindest thing she could do would be Euthanasia, he was not even 18 months old.
So on the morning of 19th May 2006, we all said our farewells to a Chocolate Labrador who through everything, never once turned on us, never bared his teeth, even when the pain must have been unbearable, but kept smiling.
Ollie, touched so many lives in short time here on earth, our hope is that by reading his story he will have a legacy, that of educating others on this terrible condition.
April 05 to May 06
Ollie, on those new legs of yours.
Disclaimer: Please note - all prospective labrador puppy owners are advised to ensure that both parents have been hip-scored and hold current clear eye certificates, and to follow the exercise and dietary advice from their breeder; this can vastly reduce the risk of your puppy suffering future problems. It does NOT however give a cast iron guarantee your puppy will not have problems.