Sarah Drayton’s first family pet, Wilbur, was bought in December. He was a cross bred ‘collie westie shitz’.
She said: “As a mongrel we thought this would be a great choice, he appeared to look more collie and we researched all possible health concerns with each breed, but they all were so unlikely we thought it was all good.”
All was well until Wilbur was diagnosed with sensory neuropathy – a very rare condition usually only seen in collies but still very rare. This devastating condition has no cure and is prevented with genetic testing.
This year they have lost loved ones to cancer while dealing with a terminally ill puppy. At just eight months old, the family had to allow him to be put to sleep having only had him for six months.
Sarah said: “We are devastated. He meant everything –such a loving, gentle, smart little soul and as a childminder he was super with the children and their families, a truly one of a kind pup.”
The family want to spread awareness of Wilbur’s condition and others that are being bred and spread, especially with the huge demand in puppies. She said: “Genetic testing is inexpensive and similar price to neutering and spaying. What we are asking is that people get their animal tested before buying, adopting or breeding – this cycle must stop.”
In October they will be holding fundraisers to raise awareness of testing as well as for Cancer UK and the Blue Cross animal charity.