As many of you know, we got a gorgeous black lab puppy back in May 2007. 8 weeks later Tynor, having been followed by someone in the local park taking photos of what I thought was the children at the time and so rushed home with them quite perturbed, was stolen.
The police informed me that a growing 'trend' is for people to photograph puppies and then literally steal them to order – which was what happened to us. Tynor was lifted from our very dog-proofed garden a couple of days later.
Nine months later…
We received a call from the dog warden saying they had found Tynor. He'd accidentally got out of the garden of his new home, was picked up by a passer by and taken to the vet who scanned him – THANK GOODNESS FOR MICROCHIPS!!! Everyone had said to us that the microchip wouldn’t work, it was pointless and that we would never see him again – but it did work and we got him back.
We had actually said that we would leave him where he was as it had been such a long time and we didn’t want anyone else’s hearts broken like ours were if they had bought him unsuspecting of what had happened. However, the warden told us of a rather nasty scuffle between the 'owners' and the vet; they thought it was clear they knew he was stolen property and therefore, we were there in an instant!
Since that time, we really wanted to find him a buddy. Dogs live in packs and although our family is Tynor’s pack, we really wanted a friend for him who spoke doggy language (you know what I mean!!).
Finding a buddy for Tynor
So, about 6 months ago, I began hunting around for a black female cocker spaniel puppy (had to be black to match Tynor – I can deal with black hair on clothes as we wear so much dark ourselves, any other colour animal is not permissible!!)… and I really wanted a crazy cocker!!!
Everytime I found a breeder with a litter, 95% of the time there wasn’t a black female to start off with and when there had been, she'd been sold – like hotcakes… but not quite as tasty (joking!)!!
So, imagine my delight when I found an ad on a dog website at Christmas saying, '11-week-old black female cocker spaniel'. Usually they would be around the 8-week age when leaving home so I assumed that the original purchasers had pulled out. I rang and arranged to visit and meet with the pup, but immediately on speaking with the girl the other end of the phone, for reasons that I couldn’t even pinpoint, I was suspicious.
On Dec 27th, we drove in HORRIFIC traffic to meet Kiri. The one-hour journey took nearly 3 as everyone was heading out for January sales and the M25 was like a car park!! Anyway, we eventually reached the address and were greeted by a young girl in her twenties who said her dad had been taken ill and so she was selling the puppies
Again, suspicion arose – anyone who knows anything about buying dogs knows there are various rules to adhere to and signs to look out for to ensure you are buying from an authentic breeder and not a puppy farm!
- Always ask to see at least one of the puppy’s parents
- Be able to see where they have been reared
- Make sure the dog is healthy
- Be aware of the breeder’s desire to check you out as prospective owners, it should be a two-way interview!
- Be given a receipt
… the list goes on!!
I KNEW all these factors – and yet I found myself in a situation where NONE of them were happening! I KNEW heart of hearts that I had dragged my family half way around the M25 to be duped! “Sorry, the Mum is at my parent’s house", “Oh her eye is fine”, “Sorry she’s a bit mucky, I haven’t had a chance to bath her as I have a new born baby” (no sign of a baby, nor any baby things anywhere!!)…
This poor little puppy had a terrible skin condition, was desperately underweight, incredibly timid, had one eye seeping badly, a hacking cough and smelt dreadful. It was clear she had been completely neglected.
What was I going to do? Walk away?
I think not! We gave this girl her money and got out of there with pup in arms who was half dead by the time we got home. I stayed with her all night having fed her puppy food and scrambled eggs which she devoured (so much for being told she isn’t a very hungry pup!), washed her and cleaned away all the crusted dirt, then wrapped her up in a warm towel and held her close.
I was furious as I knew I'd been lied to but delighted to be able to give our little pup who we called Kiri exactly what she needed… and she is FABULOUS!!!!!
Tynor adored her straight away (well, almost… there was one growl and that was it!) and within three days, Kiri was sleeping in his arms, sharing his bed and lo and behold, we had found Tynor’s buddy.
A lovely ending to be sure, but a reminder, a tragic reminder that 900,000 out of the 7million dogs in the UK, as reported on BBC News24 this week, are puppy farmed. They are neglected and malnourished, and the parents are cooped up and treated like battery hens.
You will be thrilled to know that after plenty of TLC, a course of antibiotics and a place to call home, Kiri is thriving! You’ll see the picture by the welly boot (top right) was taken the morning after we brought her home. Still a little down in the mouth but already getting better. The others as you can see, she is happy and nearly fully healthy. She is a delight to have and to love… although the cat is yet to agree on that!!
See you soon,