"Dog World" newspaper reports on PAWS!

Practical Aid for Wolfhounds launched at Southampton picnic

IRISH Wolfhound enthusiasts gathered on Sunday for their annual picnic at Southampton Canine Society show to celebrate the forthcoming launch of a new venture which aims to help dog and their owners in difficult times.

Practical Aid for Wolfhounds (PAWS), which will offer practical solutions to challenging problems related to caring for Irish Wolfhounds, is a not-for-profit organisation run by a number of dedicated owners and enthusiasts working on a voluntary basis. Entirely self-funding and relying on donations to cover costs, many of ‘Helping PAWS’ have previous experience with animal rescue and welfare work. The idea for PAWS came about as the result of a number of cases where owners were faced with Wolfhound-related problems that they simply could not fix on their own.

“Irish Wolfhounds have been very well served by the UK breed clubs, along with the long-standing and well-respected IW Rescue Trust and the innovative IW Health Group,” a PAWS spokesman said. “However, some breed-related problems were outside the remit of these bodies. So PAWS has been designed as a complementary service to run alongside these existing groups.

“Inspired by a variety of personal experiences, some of the founder members of the PAWS team have been working together on an informal basis, mainly within East Anglia, for many years. Recent events, including a high-profile cruelty case involving the breed brought by the RSPCA, have suggested a need for the network to be extended to cover the UK.

“There have also been several instances of Wolfhounds who have faced the prospect of euthanasia simply because of the practicalities of managing a temporarily immobilised giant breed dog. Recently, an appeal was made to raise funds to enable the well-known Ch Nellwyns Miss Pollyanna, owned and bred by Kathy Johnson, to access specialist rehabilitation following an accident which left her paralysed.

“It takes three to four people to lift and turn an immobile Wolfhound so most owners would not be able to manage this at home without a network of helpers.

“Donations poured in from Wolfhound lovers all over the world and an incredible £2,080 was raised in just four days. Sadly, it transpired that Polly’s spine was too badly damaged for there to be any realistic chance of recovery.”

In tribute to Polly and the depth of feeling her situation engendered, the PAWS team has set up a fund specifically to help Wolfhounds with spinal conditions. This will also support research into the causes and treatment of fibrocartilaginous embolism (FCE) and is known as ‘Pollyanna’s Practical Aid for Wolfhounds’, or Polly’s PAWS.

The PAWS team believes that no Irish Wolfhound should suffer because of the challenges associated with being a giant breed of dog; for ‘hands on’ and ‘need it now’ cases, a network of helpers with the potential to provide practical assistance and/or generate funds is a useful asset.

To find out more visit www.pawstrust.co.uk