Sarah Masters (STECS co-ordinator for Devon and Cornwall) alerted me to an advertisement on Gumtree UK selling a young, female Scottie cross Cairn in the Northeast of Eire. I contacted the seller, explained what STECS does as a charity, and the man was happy for me to collect her. I immediately got in my van, leaving hubbie to care for our animals and our kennel boarders, and travelled for three hours across four counties to get there.

When I arrived the man and his wife greeted me and made me feel welcome. He said the dog’s name was Sally and that they had got her for his grandchildren who had since grown tired of her. And because they had other dogs in the house, they couldn’t afford to keep her. It all seemed straight forward at this point.

After the formalities I asked where she was. She wasn’t in the house, nor were any other dogs. The man then took me outside to a large outhouse. Inside was another shed, with the doors blocked by empty beer barrels. He moved them out of the way and opened the door to reveal a little scrap of a dog, cringing on the concrete floor. He picked her up and put her in my arms. Trying my best to remain calm and professional, I spoke gently to Sally, held her close, walked to my van and put her in the travel crate which had a nice comfy blanket in it. I said farewell to the man and drove off wanting to get Sally back home as quickly as possible. She was as silent as a mouse for the whole journey.

Sally was initially reluctant to leave the crate but eventually she had a little wander around our garden at which point I observed that her tail seemed to be tucked under her belly. On closer inspection it became apparent that she didn’t actually have a tail – just a very swollen stump. And she was riddled with lice. It was late, so we made her a bed in an isolated part of our kennels. Sally ate all her dinner that night but was still noticeably quiet.

Our lovely vet examined her the next morning and found that she had been illegally docked (a do-it-yourself job) and the cut had gone through the bone rather than the joint, causing the bone to be exposed. It had then become infected with dirt, hair, and faeces. She was very underweight and, yes, riddled with lice. Sally was great during her consultation; it was if she knew we were trying to help her. Sally was microchipped, given her first set of vaccinations, and we came away with antibiotics, painkillers, and a special shampoo which we applied every three days. She never complained once.

As Sally went from strength to strength and her true personality emerged. She loved playing ball, had a fantastic appetite, and enjoyed the company of our two smaller dogs, our two-year old Scottie, Poppy, and our two-year old Cairn, Em. It was a joy to see her coming out of her shell.

Sally was rehomed to STECS members and experienced Scottie owners Fiona and her husband Gary who currently had two crossbreed dogs (with a hint of Irish Wolfhound I’d say). We monitored careful introductions between Toby, Jake, and Sally on several occasions at our kennels. I then took Sally to their house, and they all spent time in the garden. They all got on famously, so Sally stayed with her new family who now absolutely adore her.

Sally’s tail has healed over, and the swelling has gone. She will be spayed soon.

Fiona and Gary are thrilled to bits with Sally. Sally enjoys playing with her two big brothers and she gets on well with the family cats. Her favourite pastime is digging up Fiona’s plants in the garden – which Fiona is fine with. She will forgive Sally anything and everything.

I get to see Sally quite regularly, and because of our boarding kennels we get to board her and her two brothers, which we are looking forward to. Alan fell quite in love with Sally if the truth be known!

The little lady has certainly fallen on all four paws in her adoring new home. I love a good success story.

Shirley Woods

STECS rehoming coordinator for Northern Ireland

The Scottish Terrier Emergency Care Scheme (STECS)

Registered charity numbers 275666 / SC041298