Remarkable turnaround for Wigan dog which vets said should be put down

A Wigan woman, who was told her 18-year-old pet pooch should be put down, is celebrating after he brought home two rosettes at a local dog show eight months later.


Claire Swift, 63, is the proud owner of little Oscar, a Yorkshire Terrier, who was deemed too poorly to live by a vet less than a year ago.

Oscar had a brush with death over suggestions he should be put down

Oscar had a brush with death over suggestions he should be put down

The devastated dog lover, who rescued Oscar in 2010, however, was not satisfied with the response and went for a second opinion.

“He had trouble with his breathing,” said Claire from Beech Hill. “I took him to a vet and he told me there was not much oxygen going into his lungs. He asked if I wanted him to be put to sleep.

“I said ‘no I don’t think so, he is still well enough to be humping the cushion every day’. Oscar was still up and down the stairs every day and going for walks. The vet told me not to keep him alive for myself so I assured him I wouldn’t and took him for a second opinion.”

An anxious Claire then took her pint-sized pet, who is around 120 in dog years, to Sunrise Veterinary Centre in Parbold.

Oscar, pictured with proud owner Claire Swift from Beech Hill, Wigan

Oscar, pictured with proud owner Claire Swift from Beech Hill, Wigan

Dr Shams Mir, who owns the practice on The Common, assessed the ailing dog and prescribed some medication which cleared up Oscar’s breathing difficulties in days. “He really put my mind at ease,” said Claire. “Over Bank Holiday weekend his breathing was not good again and I phoned Dr Shams. He told me exactly what to do, he was even saying he would open the surgery if he didn’t get any better.

“He is an absolutely fantastic vet. I couldn’t recommend him enough.”

This weekend, once Oscar had fully recovered from his chest problems, Claire took him into Parbold village for a walk and decided to enter him into a dog show.

Oscar has been centre of attention before when he and another of Claire’s rescue dogs Sam, saved a woman who was suffering from a medical emergency.

The two rescue dogs, who had been taken in by Claire just the year before, discovered a woman lying semi-unconscious in Wigan wasteland. They raised the alarm and stood with the ill woman as Claire called an ambulance for help. Sam died last year, also aged 18.

On Saturday, Oscar made his owner proud once again as he came in third place in the “best pedigree” category at the Parbold dog show, as well as being ranked fourth in the “best rescue” category.

“I was the proudest person on earth,” said Claire. “We had such a fantastic day together. He was trotting along loving the attention saying ‘look at me, look at me’.

“I’m just very proud of him. I’m so glad Dr Shams realised he is still a happy healthy dog.

“We went home and had dinner and he went to bed at 8.30pm.

“The saying is true, there’s life in the old dog yet.”