A dog who suffered horrific second-degree burns after being scalded with hot water spent more than a week without treatment before being rescued.
Samson, a four-year-old mastiff cross, was injured by hot water a few days before Christmas 2019, while in the care of his previous owner.
The owner said he did not have the money to pay for the necessary veterinary treatment and gave Samson, who developed an infection due to his injuries, to the RSPCA.
After weeks of treatment, Samson found a new home with Lee and Paul Bushaway, from Baldock, in Hertfordshire, in August 2020, and is now a much-loved member of the family.
Inspector Lauren Bailey, who investigated his case, said: ‘Samson was taken for immediate vet care for severe burns and a secondary infection which must have been incredibly painful.
‘Samson was treated for weeks as he had extensive scalding to his right ear, head, neck, shoulders and back. He cried when he was touched and would shake his head repeatedly.’
He received pain relief and antibiotics before going under anesthetic to have his wounds cleaned.
‘Once the wounds had been cleaned and his fur had been clipped back I was shocked at the extent of the burns,’ she said.
The RSPCA vets said that the pup suffered for a total of ten days from the moment he was burnt up until he was taken to the vet.
After receiving initial treatment, he was taken to the RSPCA’s London hospital for ongoing treatment, and was transferred to charity’s Blackberry Farm Animal Centre, in Buckinghamshire, for rehabilitation and rehoming.
In August 2020, mother-of-three Lee, 45, and her husband Paul, 52, spotted Samson’s profile.
The pair had been looking to take on a rescue after losing their Rottweiler the previous year.
‘The house just didn’t feel the same without a dog,’ Lee said.
‘We spotted Sam’s photo and thought he looked lovely. We applied and, within just a few hours, we’d spoken to his carers on the phone and had a video call with the team,’ Lee explained.
The following day, the family went to visit Samson at his centre, and brought him home.
Although he still has some fears and anxieties, the four-year-old has learned to trust again.
Lee said: ‘He has settled in really well and is such a character; everyone loves him. He loves being with people and is very playful – he’ll play fetch for hours!’
And the pup has endeared himself to Lee and Paul’s children, but Lee is his favourite.
‘My youngest son, Jason, 23, absolutely dotes on him but he’s a real mummy’s boy at heart. He’s so loving and affectionate, and he follows me everywhere,’ she said.
‘In the evenings I curl up on the sofa under a blanket and have to make sure there’s enough on the floor next to me for him to curl up and sleep on even though he has his own snuggly blanket in his bed!’
While he adapted very well to his human family, Samson is skittish when it comes to other animals.
‘He struggles with other dogs he doesn’t know so we take him for long walks in the countryside where he won’t bump into others,’ Lee said.
But Samson has managed to make friends with some of the other local pups, including a Labrador named Aero with whom he plays in the garden.
Last year, the family did not know how Samson would behave during their first Christmas together.
‘We really weren’t sure how Sam would react on his first Christmas with us, especially as his incident happened over Christmas,’ Lee said.
‘We didn’t know if the tree and decorations would remind him of the trauma, and there are still times where we can see that it did have a mental impact on him.’
But the dog has coped with the bad memories and now loves Christmas with his family.
Paula and Lee are now looking forward to their second Christmas with Samson, who can except lots of attention and presents.
‘To look at him now you really wouldn’t even know what he’d been through.
‘I absolutely love Christmas and go all out every year so I’m really glad that he now knows that Christmas can be a truly magical time,’ she said.
She said she has already bought the pup a Christmas stocking full of treats and toys.
‘This year he’ll get to open all of his presents while we open ours and then we’ll go for a nice long walk,’ Lee said.
‘He can have a special Christmas dinner while we eat and then we’ll all cuddle on the sofa and watch festive films. He will definitely get spoiled but he really deserves it.’