2013 saw some extremely horrific cases come through RSPCA Lincolnshire Mid & Lincoln’s doors, but the story of Flo touched the hearts of not just the city of Lincoln, but the whole County – due to the sheer amount of publicity she attracted. Flo was a beautiful black lurcher who, through absolutely no fault of her own, suffered horrendously at the hands of humans on November 24, 2013.
On Sunday 24 November 2013, a member of the public telephoned the branch, expressing concern regarding men who had seemingly abandoned their dog on a riverbank. Once the men had left, the member of the public moved closer, and discovered who we would later know as Flo, lying completely motionless on the riverbank.
The local branch were not – and remain to this day – unequipped for dealing with these situations, but with inspectors over an hour’s drive away, three branch volunteers drove to the location and found Flo in an absolutely horrific state. In the time that had passed between the member of the public contacting the branch, and the branch volunteers making their way to the riverbank, Flo had managed to pull herself up the riverbank. The poor girl was badly injured, with scars all over her body and needing emergency veterinary treatment – and fast. Flo was taken straight to the out of hours vets, and holding their breath, our volunteers waited to see if she responded to the emergency treatment. Flo was kept overnight, and within minutes, her story was all over Facebook.
The next day, Flo was transferred to a specialist in Cambridgeshire, where she was found to have extensive injuries, including fractures to two of her vertebrae. Flo had a broken neck. Despite these serious and unimaginable injuries, the team in Cambridge were hopeful that the operations would be successful and that Flo would walk again. It was a no brainer, Flo would have the surgery.
Within a few days of her surgery, and being transferred to an incredible and experienced fosterer, Flo began walking independently. Over the next few months, Flo underwent significant physiotherapy and rehabilitation – meeting every milestone and exceeding all expectations.
Within two weeks of Flo’s admission into the branch, residents in and around Lincoln had raised over £10,000 for her treatment. She was mentioned on local radio stations, BBC News and included in the papers. She received get well cards, and generous people donated direct to the emergency vets to fund her out-of-hours bill for that first night. The branch was inundated with kindness and generosity.
It was incredible. Flo’s story had touched the hearts of so many – once you saw that face, you could never forget it.
Flo had not only survived the horrific injuries inflicted upon her; she had also survived two operations and had come on leaps and bounds during her rehabilitation in her fantastic foster home. She was one with many visitors, and made progress like no-one had imagined her to.
Flo went on to find an amazing forever home – you would never have known the suffering that beautiful girl had gone through, or that she had undergone so much surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation.
Flo passed away after a short battle with cancer on 23 May 2022; eight and a half years after her story made national news.
Flo is proof that every animal – no matter how small, no matter how bleak the prognosis is – is worth fighting for, and her legacy will last a lifetime.
In loving memory of Flo