Newport man and beloved social media celebrity dog Zeus forced to stop Instagram adventures

Their inspiring adventures and scenic travels across the UK and beyond have won the hearts of more than 48,000 followers on Instagram.

Daniel and Zeus. Pictures: Jamie Ricketts
Daniel and Zeus. Pictures: Jamie Ricketts

But, heartbreakingly, Newport's Daniel Enmarch, 29, and his seven-year-old dog Zeus are now faced with a different journey after the German Shepherd was left unable to walk.

Zeus has been diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, a rare disease which attacks the nerves and stops the muscles from being able to function.

A dog so used to the great outdoors, Zeus suddenly lost all ability to move and hold his head up as a result of being gripped by the disease last week.

German Shepherd Zeus

Devastated Daniel thought he was losing his best friend but, having been diagnosed, vets were this week able to provide Zeus with medication which has helped him to an extent. He is now, at least, able to walk and move around a little bit at a time at home.

But now the process of trying to give Zeus a brighter future has started and Daniel knows positivity is the key to helping his dog recover.

Such positivity is something which Zeus gave his owner when they first met. It was a relationship which flourished from day one.

"He's my best friend," said Daniel. "I got him a little while after I got back off a tour of Afghanistan in 2014.

"I was serving in the Territorial Army, as part of the Royal Logistics Corps.

"I suffered with anxiety when I returned. It took its toll on my mental health – you go from having the daily routine daily to just coming home. It was very quiet.

"I really felt the need to find a friend and that support came in the form of Zeus. I got him as a puppy and he became my best mate.

"My military background had also given me a lot of love for hiking and being in the outdoors, so set a precedent for what was to follow."

Daniel and Zeus started to embark on journeys around the UK and interest in the pair and their adventures grew through social media.

"The story we had before Zeus' illness happened is quite a significant one," said Daniel. "Our adventures started when he was one-and-a-half and I got my first camera.

"I remember our first adventure was at Halloween and we went up to the top of Snowdon."

Daniel Enmarch and Zeus

"We ascended all the way up and it was cloudy.

"When we got to the summit, the cloud just started to clear. We sat at the top of the mountain and watched this beautiful sight. I did some photography and it snowballed.

"We started doing mountain hikes and ticking places off, going to Scotland, The Lake District, Cornwall and The Peak District.

"We even went to Germany, venturing all around there and we starting making loads of new friends through Instagram. Everyone loves Zeus.

"We are a really good team. We have a unique bond. I spend every day with him and dedicate all my time to him and creating this relationship.

"The places we go, the things we have done and the images we share have reached a large audience. We started to go viral and there are a lot of people who are very aware of Zeus.

"He's a good-looking dog and combine that with the locations we go and the times – at sunrise or sunset – and you get a really beautiful image or story. I think it's inspired a lot of dog owners and also inspired a lot of people to get a dog."

See an Instagram video featuring Dan and Zeus:

Daniel and his partner Skye Williams have now been rocked by Zeus' devastating news. It casts doubt on Daniel and Zeus' adventures going forward.

"I keep the hope that one day he can make a full recovery," says Daniel. "There is the hope of remission but the journey is long and doesn't come without its dangers.

"One of the concerns is Zeus also has something called Megaesophagus, which means he has trouble swallowing food and getting it into his stomach as the muscles don't function, leaving the oesophagus larger than normal.

"He now is at risk of getting aspiration pneumonia due to the body wanting to regurgitate food that isn't passed down to the stomach.

"For this, there is no cure or operation but means he has to sit in a bailey chair for 30 minutes after eating a meal or drinking.

"We have started the long process of setting up life so Zeus can be comfortable and maybe one day a dog that can do the things he loved so much."

Daniel Enmarch is the proud owner Zeus, a black German Shepard

Daniel has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to support Zeus in his long-term rehabilitation.

"I have already been overwhelmed by how people have reacted and it has made me realise how much of an impact we have had on people over the years," he said.

"While we have insurance for Zeus it hasn't been enough to cover the large bill that was to come with the tests that needed to be done to identify the problems he was facing," added Daniel.

"Anything anyone can do to help would be amazing and would mean the world to us as the journey isn't over yet, with many more things to pay for that he'll need in his life.

"This disease could be with Zeus for the rest of his life so any relief in finances can only help his recovery. Each day we are trying new things, seeing what is effective such as lifestyle changes."

Daniel and Zeus

"The last week has been very emotional. We didn't know what was wrong or the gravity of it. It's not life-threatening at an immediate point but it has meant change. We keep the hope of remission so that he can still have a good life."

Before Zeus' diagnosis, Daniel had introduced him to a new puppy, Thor, in the hope the trio could have many more adventures together.

And he maintains that dream is alive.

"Thor has changed his tempo since arriving and lies with Zeus and comforts him," adds Daniel. "He gets something is wrong. They have a relationship which is flourishing. One day I hope to see them running around a field playing."

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