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Sick Labrador clocks up the kilos thanks to designer chair


A dog that was struggling to eat because of a rare condition is putting on weight thanks to a specialist feeding chair designed by a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) lecturer.

The 19-month-old dog captured the hearts of the nation after he made headlines in November when a university lecturer couple designed and built a chair that holds him upright so he can eat.


Buck suffers from the rare condition ‘mega-oesophagus’ which means he struggles to swallow enough food.

He was taken in by the East Midlands-based charity Team Edward Labrador Rescue and one of their social media posts about him was spotted by University of Nottingham vet and teaching associate Emma Drinkall and her fiancé Nick Rowan, a senior lecturer in product design and engineering at DMU.

Within 48 hours the pair had designed and custom-built a high chair that fitted Buck perfectly and which can be adjusted as he grows.

Before they stepped in, experts caring for him had feared he would not see his second birthday but now, slowly but surely and despite a few blips, he has put on weight.

Buck 3

His weekly weigh-in at the vets last Tuesday tipped the scales at 19.4 kilos, having a few weeks earlier dropped down to 17 kilos after being ill.

Wendy Hopewell, who runs Team Edward Labrador Rescue in Nottingham, posted on Facebook: “We are overjoyed to say Buck has gone from strength to strength this week. He has had the best week ever!

“He is one very special boy that has stolen everyone’s hearts.”

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She added: “We need to say a huge thank you to his foster carers, David and his lovely mum Hazel, for their wonderful care, love and dedication to Buck.

“Caring for him isn’t straight forward and his feeding regime is very time consuming, feeding by hand in his chair, little and often throughout the day.

“We can’t thank them enough for all that they do.”

Buck 5

“He is beginning to associate the chair with food and starts sitting in it ready for meal times,” said Nick. “He’s happy to be in the chair because he knows it means food.

“He’s not out of the woods yet, but he is doing a lot better. We’re going to adapt the chair for him as he grows. It’s a nice thing that the chair has helped. We are hoping to go back in the next month and make some adjustments because he’s going to grow into it.”

Buck’s condition means he has an enlarged oesophagus and struggles to swallow. Sitting upright helps but he is still sometimes sick and is at risk of serious chest infections if he inhales regurgitated food.
Posted on Tuesday 29th January 2019

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