If you’ve been keeping an eye on my Instagram over the past few months, you’ve seen a LOT of puppy talk. Bringing a dog of my own home is something I’d been looking forward to since the day I moved into a place of my own. For me, dogs are the most amazing creatures to grace our planet and we absolutely don’t deserve them.
My puppy story began in Sri Lanka earlier this year. I came across this poor little girl at Ella station and she broke my heart..
She was absolutely crawling with fleas and ticks and as you can see had an absolutely horrendous skin condition.
Despite the state she was in, she bumbled up to me and tried to play. I couldn’t stroke her due to the severity of her conditions, but I sat down with her and fed her some food as well as protecting her from other dogs who approached and bared teeth in an aggressive way that she just wasn’t . strong enough to protect herself from.
We had to board our train and I left this poor baby totally defenceless and alone on the platform. I watched other passengers look at her in disgust and avoid going anywhere near her. It totally broke my heart.
I got on the train and sobbed and sobbed. There are more strays in Sri Lanka than I can bear to think about, but this girl’s spirit and longing for love and affection absolutely shook me to my core.
I think maybe the reason it hit me quite as hard as it did it because the day before we were driving up a road and had to swerve out the way of an adult dog with exactly the same symptoms. He was lying in the road, not moving out of the way of traffic. In essence, he was waiting to die.
I was adamant to get this girl better and get her to the UK where she could live a life of love and happiness. The only problem is that there are very few charities in Sri Lanka and the cost to do this unassisted £6,000. I spent the remaining week of my trip making calls and writing emails to any and all charities and charitable individuals to try and make this happen. I finally found the AMAZING Indira of Cat Protection Trust who agreed to help me get the puppy to the UK. Indira has 60 dogs and 30 cats and runs her shelter alone from her home, working purely on donations and support from local vets.
Indira organised for Pet Travels to collect the pup from Ella and bring her on the 3 hour drive to Indira’s house, however once they got to the train station to collect her they found out a man had taken her and was demanding I pay him several hundred pounds if I wanted her. The next morning they went to pay him the money (it went against all my moral standings but she was so frail that we didn’t have time to barter or argue), however when they arrived he told them that she escaped overnight into the jungle. They went back to search for her every week for six weeks but no sign. They sadly assumed that she’d died in the jungle as she wouldn’t have lasted long, even if she was still in the train station, in her condition.
I can’t begin to put into words how broken my heart was by all of this… she was ready to become a happy and healthy dog in a loving home in London, but a man’s greed killed her.
One of the charities that pointed me in the right direction of some helping hands was the Wild at Heart Foundation. WAH work with shelters in countries like Greece, Bosnia and Puerto Rico to neuter, educate and rehome, ultimately to reduce the world’s stray dog population. Unfortunately Sri Lanka doesn’t have the means and support to adopt from overseas, but WAH had (/have!) hundreds of dogs waiting for homes. I dropped their rehoming manager Eve (who is an absolute ANGEL – I swear she never sleeps!) a message letting her know the sort of dog I was looking to adopt and within a few weeks I had this little scruff waiting in my inbox.
We said yes immediately and one month later she was in our arms.
The love I feel for this little girl is ridiculous. She is a total bundle of joy with so so much love to give. I can’t thank Wild at Heart for all the hard work they do for animals all over the world and also, of course, for bringing Ella to us (named in honour of our first pup that didn’t make it home 💔). The process was seamless and so full of care and love, and the aftercare and support has been amazing too. It fills my heart to know that there are people like those behind WAH in the world.. we should all be more like them.
You can donate to WAH and support their amazing cause here.
Lots of love from me and Ella xxx