Animal Shelter Reports an Unusual First

Dog named Coco arrived suffering from canine alcohol withdrawal; he's doing much better now
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2023 9:29 AM CDT

In a "heartbreaking" first for one UK animal shelter, a dog that arrived there earlier this year turned out to be an alcoholic—though now he's doing much better and is on the path to recovery. CBS News reports that Coco, thought to be a chocolate lab-spaniel mix, was dropped off at the Woodside Animal Welfare Trust in the UK city of Plymouth, along with a "canine pal" after his owner passed away, according to a shelter Facebook post. Soon after the pups got there, however, they became "unwell" and started suffering from seizures. Despite emergency care administered by an on-site vet, Coco's companion died, and staffers soon figured out what was wrong with Coco, per the shelter: "It became clear that he was suffering from symptoms that all pointed to alcohol withdrawal."

The shelter notes it isn't clear how Coco (and apparently his deceased dog pal) ended up finding their way to booze, though Newsweek suggests Coco's owner left drinks out that Coco became addicted to. A shelter worker named Cora says it's "very unusual" for this kind of thing to happen. The animal welfare group notes in its statement from last week that Coco was kept sedated for about a month to help ease his way through withdrawal and keep the seizures better under control. Now, Coco is said to be out of the danger zone, is off his meds, and seems to be physically recuperated. "Coco is doing very well indeed and well on his way to a full recovery," shelter manager Helen Lecointe tells Newsweek.

Lecointe adds that Coco "spends a lot of his time helping the girls in our sanctuary reception—in between playing with his toy ball, of course!" The dog's mental health is another matter, the shelter says, noting in its statement that Coco is "still very anxious at times." As of last week's post, that anxiety seemed bad enough to temporarily bar him from being placed with a forever home, but Cora now tells Newsweek that Coco has been given the "all clear" from his vets and is "up for homing." Cora warns other dog owners to make sure alcohol is kept away from their pets—she notes that the pooch had become "dependent" on the hooch in this case, meaning Coco hadn't just stumbled on one drink, one time. (More dog stories.)

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