Dog with neurological problem that leaves him wobbly seeks new home

A Malamute who was born with an unusual neurological condition that leaves him wobbly and unsteady on his paws is looking for a special new home.

Two-year-old Barney was rescued by RSPCA inspectors from Lancashire in December 2020 when his owner could no longer take care of him and three other dogs.

The dogs were taken into Altham Animal Centre, in Accrington. Barney’s brother Bear and sister Ebony have already gone off to wonderful new homes.

Barney is in the care of RSPCA Keighley Craven & Upper Wharfedale branch, but is currently being looked after at RSPCA Lancashire East Branch.

Jeanette Ainscough, centre manager for Lancashire East, said: “Sadly, three of the four dogs had health problems they’d been born with. Bear had progressive retinal atrophy (or PRA) which means he’ll eventually go blind and Bella was suffering from serious neurological problems which was causing her to suffer severe seizures and, unfortunately, the vet felt the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep which was heartbreaking for all of us.

“Barney is also suffering from neurological problems and when he arrived he struggled to stand and stay upright without assistance. We spent a lot of time working with him and giving him slow and steady exercise to build up the strength in his legs. Initially, two staff had to walk him out to help him with his balance but as he slowly improved we were able to reduce that.

“Now he’s so much better but you can tell there’s something wrong when you see him walking; he is hyper-extended with his legs and is very wobbly but it doesn’t slow him down! He still loves playing in the fields and going out for a walk. Sometimes he does struggle with toilet training but we hope that any new owners will not be put off by this.”

Barney has regular physiotherapy sessions and special exercises to help with his proprioception and to build muscle. Barney will need new owners who can continue this work and help to manage his condition.

Jeanette added: “Some people may think it’s funny or strange seeing Barney with his unusual walk but we just think it makes him even more endearing and lovable. He is unique and we absolutely love him for it. He’s such a lovely lad who will make such a wonderful companion for the right home. He needs owners who can help with his ongoing condition and create a safe and loving home for him.”

Find out more about Barney by contacting the RSPCA Lancashire East team on or 01254 231118.