The Flat Coated Retriever Rescue Network: News in March 2024  

General news

Welcome to the March 2024 edition of the newsletter of the Flat Coated Retriever Rescue Network (FCRRN). There are several items of news about rescues to follow up from previous newsletters(1 – 10). Also this newsletter describes some “odd situations;” but no direct rescues have been needed.

The dog rescue centres continue to struggle to find homes for the many dogs that are being surrendered due to the perfect storm caused by the increase in guardianships during the pandemic, the continuing cost of living pressures, and the rise in veterinary fees.

People who became guardians during the pandemic, particularly of puppies, are trying to cope with behaviour problems(11) as well as all the other factors involved in guardianship. Inflation is falling for some items but energy, food and housing costs remain high(12). We have probably all seen the rise in veterinary fees and it is not surprising that the review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has led them to consult on launching a market investigation(13).

It is a regrettable fact of life that while some guardians surrender their dogs to rescue centres, others seek to sell them and gain some financial recompense. However it is odd that more guardians who are thinking of a surrender do not approach the Flat Coated Retriever Society’s rescue, rehousing and welfare scheme, Black Retriever Cross Rescue, and the FCRRN, as well as the rescue centres because we do the home checks, follow up support, and offer news to the surrendering guardian; all of which might not occur if there is a sale.

Meanwhile, the Internet prices for pure bred, black flat coated retriever puppies remain at about £1600 (+/- £200). A price of £2000 is being sought for liver flat coated retriever puppies.

Recently the FCRRN heard of a an odd situation in which there was an advertisement for a male, black flat coated retriever puppy, nine weeks young, who seemed to have had all the right breeding, Kennel Club registration, etc., yet the breeder was only asking for “£700 or offers.” The advertisement then disappeared.

The FCRRN wish to thank our supporters for their many networking activities and for their comments on the November 2023 newsletter(10)

• “Thank you for the newsletter. It is very interesting to read about the research taking place. I do hope that Alfie is adopted soon. I have shared him on my Facebook feed with the link to the Warrington rescue. A number of my friends have then also shared his details.”

• “Thank you for the newsletter and its content. I did see the BBC 2 program about Fergus and I am shocked and saddened by his death.

It is upsetting and again shocking at the internet prices of the breed and that people are not surrendering to established rescue organisations who run checks on the prospective companions.”

• “Thank you for your email and the copy of the latest FCRRN newsletter. It is always a very interesting read.”

• “I am sorry to hear of poor Fergus; that makes me so sad to think of them losing him to a cardiac condition when he was still so young. I will keep everything crossed for Benson and Alfie and hope that something comes into fruition for them before Christmas.”

• “Thank you so much for the newsletter. I shall forward Alfie’s details to some people who might be interested.”

• “Thank you. I have not heard of four flat coated retrievers in Yorkshire needing a home. I shall make some inquiries.

Also I will see what I can do about Alfie. I recently sent a few people to another general rescue who were caring for a flat coated retriever.”

• “I enjoyed reading your winter newsletter and hope you have managed to find guardians for Alfie and Benson now… the flatcoated retriever world is so lucky to have the FCRRN at their backs!”

• “Thank you for the newsletter. I hope that Benson and Alfie find appropriate loving homes. I was sad to hear about Fergus dying.  

There was some fascinating feedback on the subject of canine stem cell therapy. Also it was good to read the appreciation for the research you carried out with regard to this interesting subject.”

• “Thanks for this newsletter. I am going, if you are happy, to share it with a retired couple who have moved into the area and who recently lost a veteran flat coated retriever. Their remaining dog is a nine year old flat coated retriever who is lonely hence they are looking for an adult, not a puppy.”

Editor’s Note: Naturally the FCRRN are happy for the newsletter to be shared either via the pdf or via the website.

• “Thank you for the newsletter. I have been speaking to Cleo (pseudonym) who is guardian to Phoebe (pseudonym), flat coated retriever, and between us all we know a few people who might be suitable for Benson. “

• “Thank you for your email and newsletter; it is always good to hear from you. I am interested in Benson so please could you send me further details?

I thought about Alfie but I do not think I want to take on another older dog at this time.”

• “Thank you for your email and, of course, for the FCRRN newsletter – as always, a valuable read.”

• “I have not spoken directly to anyone but I have shared Benson’s details on various Facebook sites up here. Please let me know if I can assist at all with any meetings, etc. I am sure he will flourish in the right home.”

• “Thank you for sending the FCRRN newsletter with stimulating and interesting topics. We have considered Stanley (pseudonym) for blood donation but he has a dislike of having his front feet/legs touched and would find it quite stressful…a memory of having a cannula inserted for his previous surgeries?”

Alfie, Warrington

Readers will recall(10) that Alfie is lovely flat coated retriever cross who is nine years young and he was looking for a home while in the care of Warrington Animal Welfare. The good news is that a home has been found. The FCRRN do not have the details but at least two of our supporters contacted Warrington Animal Welfare. The main issue is that this lovely well-adjusted veteran will have his final years in a good home.


Benson (pseudonym) is a male flat coated retriever cross golden retriever who was born in July 2022(10). He has moved to a new home in Aberdeenshire. Janey (pseudonym), the surrendering guardian, organised the move via a local animal rescue.

The Aberdeenshire community of the FCRRN performed well by spreading news of Benson’s situation and there were three potential homes locally. Also one of our supporters in south west England was interested in potentially adopting him.

Janey asked me to send her sincerest thanks to all the FCRRN’s supporters who tried to help. Janey is relieved that Benson has found a good home without the need to travel too far and that she could be involved in the adoption process.

I have reassured her that the FCRRN remain available in the (hopefully) unlikely event that she needs further help.

Yorkshire mystery: Four flat coated retrievers

Despite the reports from several of the FCRRN’s supporters(10), no further information came to light so, all being well, a good home was found if it was needed. It is a Yorkshire mystery.

With all the contacts the FCRRN have in the flat coated retriever, this is another odd situation.

Alfie, London

In early February 2024 the FCRRN were advised about Alfie, Kennel Club registered, male flat coated retriever, only nine months young, who was seeking a home via an advertisement on Pets 4 Homes. Several of the people on the waiting list of the FCRRN were contacted and they responded to the advertisement. However in one of the odd situations the advertisement had been removed.

Atlas, Glenrothes

In early March 2024 the FCRRN heard about Atlas, male flat coated retriever, three years young, who was seeking a home via an advertisement on PetRehomer.

News of the advertisement was shared with local supporters of the FCRRN. Soon after the advertisement appeared Atlas was “reserved” and PetRehomer were not accepting more inquiries which seemed good for him. Then a week later Atlas was re-advertised and currently he is reserved again. It seems to be another odd situation.

Missy, West Midlands

Recently the FCRRN were alerted to Missy, female, black flat coated retriever, 12 months young, and in the care of Ravens Rescue who only rehome in the West Midlands.

It is not clear if she is still seeking a home so someone local could contact Ravens Rescue to inquire: https://ravensrescueuk.weebly.com/

Max: The mud lark and stealthy bed maker

Max (pseudonym) is a male flat coated retriever who celebrated his seventh birthday recently. Following the trauma of his early years(7) he has continued to gain confidence since his rescue three years ago.

Some feedback from an adopter of several flat coated retrievers: “The photo of Max “the mud lark” brought a chuckle to me and a reminder of all of ours doing the same at times. Millie (pseudonym), our first flat coated retriever companion, caused me some shock and horror early on in our lives together. I had a new Range Rover in 1988 and her space in it was properly covered with a protective covering. This however did not protect the cream coloured roof lining which she managed to turn dark brown when she shook herself vigorously the moment I closed the boot.”

Also in the November 2023 newsletter Max demonstrated his enthusiasm for corn on the cob. However in a cautionary note the FCRRN must mention the following feedback from one of our supporters who is a veterinary physician: “I must admit I was nervous reading about Max’s penchant for corn on the cob – having removed one too many from a dog’s small intestine in my time. However I was delighted to read on and to see that he obviously has a very careful way of eating them so as to avoid a foreign body risk…. clever boy Max!” (sic)

Max is an inveterate nest builder. His main bed is at the top of the stairs.

Picture: Step one – lift the cushion from the arm chair

Picture: Step two – carry the cushion upstairs

Picture: Step three – plump up the cushion and prepare to position it

Picture: Step four – position the cushion on the bed to support the head

Max can also remove, with the utmost delicacy, the rug from his guardian when she is dozing in the arm chair with the rug wrapped round her. Max takes the rug up to his bed and his guardian wakes up feeling rather cold.

Flat coated retriever walks

There are a couple of walks in north Wales in April. On Saturday, April 20th, there is a circular walk at Llyn Hafod y Llyn with a stop at the Ffestiniog railway café for a lunch time bonus. On Sunday, April 21st, the walk will be at Black Rock Sands, Morfa Bychan.

For more detailed information, please contact John Bowman: mcgurgle@aol.com

Elderly rescues

There was a moving article in The Guardian(14) about the rescue of older dogs. The FCRRN are fortunate to have many supporters who are prepared to rehome an older flat coated retriever despite their shorter life expectancy (sic), higher medical costs, and other increased needs.

In addition there is an even more moving quote in the article by Steve Greig, a serial adopter of older dogs, who offers the following advice: “The people I have seen that are the most unhappy think everything is about them Once you realise that almost everything isn’t, which is what these dogs have taught me, life is so good.” (sic)

Res ipsa loquitur.

And finally

The Flat Coated Retriever Rescue Network send our best wishes for the spring season, particularly for the western Easter holidays, to all our supporters, their flat coated retrievers and their other companions.

Please send us any snippets of news about our beloved breed and their relatives so that they can be shared with our community.

Also, please could you remember the Flat Coated Retriever Rescue Network if, via any route, you learn that a surrender or adoption is being considered?

Dr. Iain J. Robbé

On behalf of the Flat Coated Retriever Rescue Network (FCRRN)

Email: walesandwm@gmail.com


“Rescues R Us”

Experts: none of the FCRRN is acting in the capacity of an expert; each contributor is offering their advice based on accessible evidence. If you are concerned about any subject in the newsletters then you should consult a veterinary professional, legal professional or other professional. 

© 2024 Flat Coated Retriever Rescue Network

(1) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_01/

(2) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_02/

(3) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_03/

(4) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_04/

(5) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_05/

(6) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_06/

(7) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_07/

(8) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_08/

(9) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_09/

(10) http://www.iainrobbe.com/fcrrn_10/

(11) https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-67800895

(12)  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/business-68581526

(13) https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-identifies-multiple-concerns-in-vets-market

(14) https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2024/feb/07/they-deserve-love-last-chance-pets-and-the-people-who-rescue-them

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About Iain Robbe

I am a medical practitioner (MB, BS, 1980; MRCS, LRCP, 1980) registered with the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I have reactivated my licence to practise and I am providing telephone support to vulnerable elderly to assist them during the pandemic. I remain active as a Clinical Medical Educationist participating in a number of projects with the universities of St Mary’s and Dalhousie in Nova Scotia and Mount Allison in New Brunswick, inter alia, and separately with three of the veterinary schools in the UK. My focus is on teaching and research in professionalism, ethics, and communications, and particularly the influences of vernacular architecture on the creation of positive learning experiences in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. I have the degree of Master in Public Health from the University of London (1985) and the degree of Master in Medical Education with distinction from the University of Wales (2001). The guiding principles in my practices are based on andragogy and humanism, and the prime ethical principle of autonomy for the individual and in population health.

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