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Shep - the very lucky one

IT’S ALWAYS heartening to hear an account of a dog that has triumphed over adversity, especially one that has been rescued from a life of cruelty and even the prospect of a lingering death. Such is the story of Shep, a Border Collie described by canine rescuer Sarah Carey as " a lovely little dog who has really been to hell and back. "

Shep is roughly around seven months old and came to Sarah’s rescue group Wiccaweys after being rescued from the most appalling conditions. On the rural farm property he was kept in.

He suffered severe cruelty and abuse, but thanks to the courage and bravery of two elderly ladies, this young dog now has the opportunity to have the life he deserves.

Shep had been kept locked in a rotting shed all his life, and he was only fed when his owner remembered. Then he would have to fight rats for his food as they would steal it. He only had rainwater to drink. He lived and slept in his own mess and was kept on a chain at all times. The only contact he had with his owner was either a boot or a fist.

He first came to the ladies’ attention when they moved in to the property next door to his owner and they could always hear dogs crying but not see them.

The ladies phoned a large, national animal welfare organisation whose Inspector was less than helpful. "They had to phone several times before he came to investigate," says Sarah.

"The first time he said he was ‘a bit busy’ and didn't know if he had time. The next time he said as it was coming up for the weekend he wouldn't be able to come out until late the following week!

"When he finally came to investigate, he took one poor dog away immediately to be destroyed as it was in such a terrible condition, but left Shep there saying he had no grounds to remove him as he had access to water! Surely the fact that one dog was in such terrible condition meant that Shep was at risk too?"

The owner agreed that Shep could go outside during the day and would then drag him out of the shed in the morning, chain him up in the yard all day, and then throw him back into the shed in the evening.

The feisty ladies then took it upon themselves to help Shep. Their view was that this was not good enough, "if the proper authorities were not willing to do something, then they bloody well would!"

They crept around every day once Shep's owner had gone to work to feed him, socialise and play with him. He had an old glove to play with and a ball. They had to make sure everything was taken home again before his owner returned. It broke their hearts to know what Shep faced when his owner got home.

They kept this up for several weeks whilst planning their next move - finally the day came and as soon as Shep's owner had left, they went to the property with bolt cutters to release Shep. They took their camera and photographed the yard and conditions Shep was living in. Then they went into the shed. The sight that met their eyes is something that will haunt them forever.


Sarah continues: "Lying on the floor in front of them, still with a chain attached was the skeleton of a curled up dog, Border Collie sized. All that remained was a piece of hair on the tail. Poor Shep had been living alongside his dead friend.

"What I would like to know is - did the Inspector go in with his eyes shut???

"Shep is now safe with us, thanks to these two wonderful ladies. Considering what this poor lad has been through he is quite a remarkable boy. He is friendly, desperate to trust and bond and very loving. I put this all down to the socialising and playing he received from the ladies. He is tri-colour with quite a white face; he has one pale golden eye and one blue. He is quite small in size. Shep does have a very overshot jaw that gives him a very sweet expression. His bottom jaw is a bit crooked, so whether he was born overshot, or it is the result of an old injury we don't know. "

Shep has since been rehomed to a new family from Wiccaweys and is being "spoilt rotten," according to Sarah.

"He gets to go everywhere with his new Mum, and joins her at work around various stable yards. He has lots of land to run around on, new horse and cat friends and a chicken to chase should the urge take him. He is incredibly happy. This little dog is a living miracle and a testimony to two very brave and courageous ladies."

The final comment from his previous owner when he told the ladies that Shep had gone spoke volumes: "Good bloody riddance - more trouble than it was worth!"

The elderly ladies smiled sweetly and said nothing.