Belfast Telegraph

Marching dog Angel on the mend after big operation

By Rebecca Black

One of Northern Ireland's most popular dogs is on the mend after having a lifesaving operation.

Japanese Akitas Angel and Ghost - also known fondly as Ulster's Marching Dogs - have become an annual attraction at Orange parades.

Owner Sam Dickson receives hundreds of requests for them to take part in parades across the UK each year.

But Angel took ill last week and was diagnosed with pyometra, a type of infection which affects the womb.

"When we were out walking I noticed she was slowing up, I looked in between her paws and noticed a redness," Sam told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I got some antiseptic spray but it didn't clear up, and then on Saturday morning she was falling way behind on our walk, which wasn't like her at all.

"I took her to the vet and while she was getting examined she let a wee growl out of her, which is the first ever."

Angel went on to have a hysterectomy operation on Monday, which a relieved Sam has described as a success.

Sam brought her home for plenty of bed rest and care on Monday evening.

He said he was blown away by the number of people inquiring about her after he posted updates about her illness on his Facebook page.

"My fingers were nearly worn away replying to all the messages I got from people asking for her," Sam added.

"Angel and Ghost mean so much to people. Sometimes I feel I'm just along with them, they truly are the people's dogs."

The trio recently walked at their first funeral for a man who loved to watch them parade in Antrim. They've already 30 bookings for 2018 - the first an Orange parade on St Patrick's Day in Armagh.

Belfast Telegraph

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