Hollie bordercollie and her struggle with chronic skin disease

Hollie had an owner but no house. She grew up walking the streets, in the cold without a permanent bed to rest her head. While she was dearly loved, poor Hollie was suffering from a serious skin condition.

With her skin disorder worsening, Hollie’s owner wasn’t able to afford to pay for her vet care resulting in the heartbreaking decision to surrender her to RSPCA South Australia.

When she came into our care she was fearful to be around people and other dogs. Hollie was struggling to adjust to her new environment, which was a concern to RSPCA’s dog care team.

The fortuitous meeting of Heather and Hollie

RSPCA volunteer Heather Palmer, was busy doing her rounds when she stopped abruptly in front of Hollie’s kennel. A pair of sad eyes looked back at her from the other side of the caged door, she stared back in disbelief.

” Her condition was just so sad, she looked afraid and appeared cold from not having any fur. It broke my heart I wanted to cry. I remember asking another volunteer how could someone let an animal end up in this condition?” said Heather.

During the remainder of the shift, Heather couldn’t wipe the picture of Hollie and her tattered fur from her mind.

“I had some spare time towards the end of my shift and decided to spend it with her. I went and sat beside her kennel on the concrete, talking to her and giving pats.”

“She wouldn’t let me go. she just kept pawing at me each time I stood up to leave. I really felt a connection with her there and then.”

Heather knew there and then that Hollie would be coming home with her. “I was so eager to foster her. She just needed a nice quiet space to rest,” she said.

Hollie’s long road to recovery

Medication had helped ease some of Hollie’s irritated skin, but she was still suffering from severe erythema and alopecia. She was covered in excoriations from picking at her own skin and they had become itchy during their healing process.

“Her skin was so irritated, the only place I could touch her was on her front legs the rest of her body was so scabby and sore. I couldn’t imagine what she was going through, how itchy and uncomfortable she must have been feeling,” said Heather.

Hollie’s skin hygiene became Heather’s number one priority – “I was fostering her and knew she would require plenty of TLC. Her skin was still in a terrible state and she emitted a pungent musk, I think it was coming from her dead skin cells.”

Hollie’s true colours shine through

After fostering Hollie for six weeks Heather knew she wasn’t going anywhere. The pair had grown extremely close, with Heather determined to mend her back to full health.

“It’s been a slow recovery for her. She now is two-thirds covered in fur (and is smelling so much better). She’s always wagging her tail and smiling – it’s really heartwarming to see how much her spirits have lifted,” laughed Heather.

We’re so grateful to all our supporters who made Hollie’s new life a reality. Want to help more animals in urgent need, just like Hollie? Head over here to see our current emergency appeals.

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