‘She is probably the only dog with her condition in the UK’

Lily as a Pets As Therapy dog. 'Picture: Laura Hamilton
Lily as a Pets As Therapy dog. 'Picture: Laura Hamilton
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DIAGNOSED with a medical condition vets had only seen in textbooks, a Golden Retriever puppy has overcome the odds.

Lily was one of 10 puppies born in Laura Hamilton’s kitchen in Sarisbury Green over three years ago but was unable to eat and lap the water.

Lily the dog. 'Picture: Laura Hamilton

Lily the dog. 'Picture: Laura Hamilton

A specialist veterinarian in Winchester diagnosed the pooch with an unusual swallowing disorder called congenital circopharyngeal asynchrony.

Laura said: ‘In the specialist’s 26 years of practice, she had never encountered a dog with Lily’s condition before Lily but had only read about it in a medical textbook.

‘None of the other veterinarians Lily has seen has even heard of her problem, much less treated a dog with it.

‘She is probably the only dog in the UK alive with her condition and that is no exaggeration.’

Despite being advised to put Lily to sleep, Laura decided to persevere with different treatments

She said: ‘They didn’t think she could survive but I chose to try to find different ways of keeping Lily fed and hydrated, but it was a considerable challenge because of her swallowing problem.’

At nine months old, the earliest allowable age for evaluation, Lily passed the stringent and very demanding assessment to be a Pets As Therapy dog and provide unique therapeutic visits.

She has now completed over 125 visits and is working as a PAT dog at two local schools – Sarisbury Junior Church of England School and St Anthony’s Roman Catholic Primary School, and two residential care homes, Avon Park and Hamble Heights.

Lily’s journey has inspired Laura to write a book titled Lily: One in a Million, A Miracle of Survival.

Laura said: ‘She is a miracle of survival because keeping her alive so that she could have a great life and repay society for it as a Pets As Therapy dog are nothing short of miraculous.’

Lily’s story has picked up worldwide interest appearing on TV and radio and in magazines including being stocked in Barnes and Noble in the USA.

‘Lily’s book does more than simply tell her amazing story: it also gives hope to owners of pets with life-threatening conditions and may help them to find ways to help their pets while going against professional advice to euthanize .’

Laura and Lily will be signing the books on Tuesday June 19 at the Fareham Library.