Anyone who knows us personally, knows that we’re big promoters of adopting dogs in Spain – especially the many that are currently in shelters. We could share hundreds of stories with happy endings as well as many with unhappy endings too. But today we’d like to share just one – Billy Boxer.
Billy Boxer’s story
Four years ago today, I spotted a photograph on a friend’s Facebook wall. Jane Burke is probably the best known English vet in Lanzarote, and certainly one of the most loved and respected. She had posted an image of a boxer pup that had been abandoned. His name was Tyson and his owner had decided that she would rather go to a party in the UK than face up to her responsibilities as a dog owner.
Had it not been for the woman’s landlord, Adam Brennan, Tyson would not have survived the weekend. Adam had planned to access the property on the Monday but, knowing it had been left empty on the Thursday, he paid an early visit on the Friday instead. He discovered a malnourished and very young Boxer pup on the terrace with an uncovered pool, no food, and just an inch of water in the bottom of a sandcastle bucket. Accompanying the skinny little pup was a note telling Adam to put Tyson into kennels because the owner was off to a family party in the UK.
Adam took Tyson to Jane who treated him for a couple of ailments and popped the photo on Facebook.
That was when I spotted the gangly little chap. We already had two dogs (Guido and Pepper) and did not want any more. But I decided to tease Alan a little and demanded a puppy. Of course he said no. I teased him for the next couple of hours – but he was right… two dogs was enough for us.
Later that night though, after a glass or three of wine, Alan uttered those wonderful words: “So, tell me about this puppy.” That’s code in our house for, “Okay – you can have him.”
I told Alan the story, showed him the photo of the ginger arms, legs and cheeky chops, and also explained that Tyson had probably already been snapped up. His disappointment was very obvious and he suggested we dropped Jane the Vet a message the next morning. Well, that was all I needed to hear.
Sure enough, the next morning I messaged Jane on Facebook and said that if Tyson hadn’t already been rehomed, we’d like to be his forever Mum & Dad. Her reply came back within seconds, “Phone me now!!”
Needless to say, we phoned, visited an hour or so later and Tyson came home to live with us permanently – but with a brand new name, Billy Boxer, which suits his dappy personality much better.
That was four years ago, and since that time he has enriched our lives beyond measure. There is not a single day that he fails to make us laugh out loud. He’s the sweetest, soppiest, cuddliest dog. He is completely nuts.
Are three dogs too many for us? Perhaps. Would we be without him? Absolutely not!
The former owner?
Her name is Terri Hunter. She was (and may still be) a regular visitor to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. She enjoyed prolonged stays but left Adam’s property owing a large amount of money. She abandoned Billy Boxer to attend a relative’s party in the UK. Nice, eh?!
This young woman had previously been featured in the News of The World (before its demise) for having worked her way through more than 1000 sexual partners due to her sex addiction.
Not once did she ask the landlord what had happened to the puppy.
Not once did she contact us to either try to get him back or check that he was okay – despite us being very open and vocal on local fora about the situation and who we were.
Animal charities in Spain
Please please please support your local animal charities and shelters by adopting. There are thousands of dogs crying out for a new home and there will certainly be many that would suit you and your home.
We sometimes see criticism online for those of us that prefer to adopt specific breeds. However, we know from experience that Labradors and Boxers suit our own lifestyle and as such will settle faster with us. As much as we love ALL breeds, they all need different types of care and attention – it would be unfair of us (personally) to take on certain breeds because we wouldn’t be able to give them what they need. For example – I love Border Collies – but they need so much more exercise and stimulation than other breeds – and we (personally) can’t give them that because our business demands so much of our time – things would be different if we were retired, or our working hours were less. As wonderful as good intentions, cuddles and love are… sometimes dogs need more than that – so think carefully before picking up that new puppy. Ensure that your home is big enough… ensure that you have the time and energy to give your doggie what they need… and ensure that you’re ready to provide a FOREVER home! Perhaps try fostering first – to see how you go. We see too many situations where eager adopters have taken on a pup that they weren’t suitable for – a situation that could have been avoided with a little research.
If you ARE after a particular breed… there are many dedicated charities who can help such as Boxers in Spain or SOS Podenco. A quick Google search should bring up options for you.
Also… don’t dismiss older dogs. These deserve your love and cuddles too. Normally they will already be housetrained and know how to behave when out and about – but they are harder to rehome because people want pups.
Head along to your local shelter, or contact one of the many rehoming charities in Spain – you are guaranteed to find a new fluffy friend – you will be perfect for each other.
Remember, as the old saying goes “A dog is for life not just for Christmas!”
Right – am off to cuddle our three lovely boys and give them a chewy treat… because they deserve it!