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Deaf-blind dog dumped and left for dead has loving new home in Manchester

Cancel Out Cruelty! Morris looked like a pile of rags when he was found dumped and his finder thought he was dead

A blind and deaf dog with severely matted fur who was dumped at the side of a canal in Greater Manchester has undergone an amazing transformation in RSPCA care and is loving life in his new home – with a girlfriend too!

The shih tzu dog, named Morris by rescuers, was so matted when found he resembled a pile of rags.

A walker came across the shocking sight and on closer inspection realised the pile was actually a dog. He thought the poor pet was dead as he was in such a poor condition.

But then he could see the neglected dog was breathing but he was too terrified to move, so he carried him home to help him recuperate before taking him to a nearby vets, who reported the matter to the RSPCA. He was found near the Ashton Canal, at Portland Basin, in Ashton-under-Lyme, on Friday, March 25.

Animal rescuer Inspector Ryan King rushed Morris to the RSPCA’s Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for emergency veterinary treatment.

Staff immediately got to work to shave off 1.3 kilograms of matted fur which was preventing him from moving. Once they could see his face they realised he was also blind in one eye and the other had so many cataracts he needed an operation and they were unable to save his sight.

Morris was then taken to the RSPCA Lancashire East branch where he began his rehabilitation with their dedicated team. Once he was back to full health, staff set about trying to find a special home for the friendly pooch which would cater for his blindness.

A few months later he landed firmly on his paws when sprightly pensioner Josephine Newhall (82), of Wythenshawe, adopted him as she lives in a bungalow which is easier for Morris to navigate himself around.

The happy chap also has a girlfriend now – as Josephine’s daughter Karen Brookes (52) has a female lhasa apso called Ruby who Morris loves to be around when she visits.

Josephine said: “We knew he was blind when we took him in but I have the perfect home for him and he can get in and out of the garden very easily so it is no problem for him. I have also found out he is deaf too – but he doesn’t let these disabilities hold him back at all.

“He loves playing with his tennis ball and loves Ruby to visit but she can be boisterous for him sometimes so he will let her know. They are really good friends and it has helped his confidence.

“Morris is a beautiful little dog and enjoys snuggling up to me on the settee – he is great company and when you think where he has come from it is a miracle he is still here.

“The RSPCA did a fantastic job in rescuing and rehabilitating him and I am glad he has the happy ending he deserves.”

The RSPCA is highlighting the plight of Morris as part of the charity’s  Cancel Out Cruelty fund-raising campaign calling on the public to support more rescues like this and to raise awareness about how we can all help to stop cruelty to animals for good.”

Sue Abraham, fostering coordinator at the Lancashire East branch, said Morris stayed in their care for five months to help rehabilitate him and was placed in a foster home where he could learn to adapt more to his blindness.

She said: “His foster mum led Morris around the house on a lead until he got to know where everything was and even adapted her garden for him as he kept falling from a small wall.

“He was always so lovely in spite of all he had been through and all the staff here really loved him – especially when used to play with his tennis ball in the reception area. It is great he has settled so well with Josephine and is still the cheeky chap we all came to love.”

Ryan, who rescued Morris after he was found dumped, said he is delighted with his progress and could hardly believe it was the same dog when he saw him in his new home.

Ryan said: “When the man who found Morris first came across him he was laying next to a bench near the canal. As he wasn’t moving he thought the poor pet was already dead. On closer inspection he realised he was breathing but his fur was so heavy and matted he appeared unable to move and he was obviously terrified.

“Vets at the animal hospital later found he was blind in one eye with glaucoma and had very little sight due to cataracts – so it is not surprising he would have been too terrified to move from where he was abandoned.

“Sadly the vets did all they could to save the eye with cataracts but it later had to be removed.

“While also at the hospital staff had to shave off 1.3 kilograms of matted fur – which was 10% of his overall body weight – as this was preventing him from moving and causing him suffering. Then he began to feel more comfortable and soon went on to make an amazing transformation at the branch.

“I am delighted to see him settled in a new home loving life – it makes my job so worthwhile and this is why we need people to support our Cancel Out Cruelty campaign to help rescue and rehome more dogs like Morris.”

Sadly the RSPCA receives around 91,500 calls to its cruelty line every month and investigates 5,300 reports of deliberate animal cruelty but in the summer calls rise to 133,000 a month – which is three every minute.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising.  Each year, it reaches its terrible annual peak in the summer months – when an animal is beaten  on average every hour of every day. The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing  animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit.

“Together, we will rescue pets from heartbreaking cruelty and wild animals from horrific abuse.  This summer, every gift you give to the RSPCA helps to cancel out cruelty to animals.  Please donate today to our Cancel Out Cruelty campaign.”

As the only charity in England and Wales investigating cruelty and rescuing animals, the RSPCA needs support to stay out on the frontline:

  • £2 could help to provide a meal for a cat or dog in our care

  • £6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in our care

  • £10 could help pay towards bandages for a cat or dog

  • £15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam

  • £20 could help pay towards a bird catching kit

  • £30 could help pay for a life jacket for an inspector

  • £100 could help pay towards water rescue equipment

  • £500 could kit out a 4×4 inspector van

The RSPCA’s frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can’t do it alone – we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, visit:

The RSPCA Lancashire East branch is part of the RSPCA family but is a self funded branch in its own right. To help them care for dogs like Morris find out more, here

**The person responsible for abandoning Morris and leaving him suffering has never been found.

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