A RESCUED Lurcher named Shayla who had been given to a new home without the permission of the rescue organisation who originally homed her has been tracked down, safe and well and living happily in west Wales.
As reported in last week’s issue, Shayla came to England in January 2004 from an animal rescue centre in Ireland having been badly mistreated by her previous owners. She was rehomed to Alyson Sowden who regularly fosters and rehomes neglected dogs in the West Country.
As the weeks passed, Shayla grew stronger her skin, which had been badly infected got better and she started to put on weight. She started to sleep less and loved to play with her toys, becoming a dog who enjoyed life.
When Shayla had returned to full health, Alyson set about finding a new, permanent home for her and put her details out to the rescue community. She was duly contacted by a couple named Paul and Stella who ran a charity in Essex, who offered Shayla a home, which Alyson accepted. The couple changed Shayla’s name to Osiris and sent Alyson photographs of her in her new home happily playing with their other rescued dogs.
Just after Christmas, the couple separated; Stella went to live in Wales and took Shayla with her. Stella wanted to keep Shayla, so Alyson told her that if at any time she couldn't cope to let her know and she would take Shayla back.
Alyson told OUR DOGS at the time: "Stella informed me that she had rehomed Shayla to an elderly man in her road after she had bitten her mother and son. This really didn't sit right with me, I knew Shayla would never do anything like that unless she had been very stressed or something had been done to her. Then I got a call from another rescue charity to let me know that Shayla (Osiris at the time) had been handed in to Llanelli Dogs Home by Stella three weeks ago and had been rehomed – something Stella had failed to mention!
"Since that day myself and a group of other people from different rescues across the UK have done everything we can to try and find her. We have spoken to the owner of Llanelli dogs home I have told him Shayla's story, he has seen pictures of her but has refused to give me any information on where she really is. He informed me that she had been rehomed to a lady in Carmarthen who had two other dogs, then was later informed that she had been rehomed to a family in the Llanelli area. I have spoken to the police, contacted newspapers and had friends place posters up in the Llanelli area to try and find her. But I have now hit a brick wall."
Then, just last week, there was a breakthrough. The charity Sighthounds OnLine (SOL) that Alyson is involved with had already put up posters about Shayla everywhere they could, including vets’ surgeries, pet shops and parks, offering a substantial reward for information leading to her safe return.
Incredibly, the couple that had bought Shayla in good faith – who wish only to be identified as Trudy and Andrew – saw the posters and were terrified that someone was going to come and seize their dog. They consulted with police and a solicitor, and also spoke to the owner of the dogs’ home where they obtained Shayla, who claimed that he had been harassed by "rescue people" who had attempted to steal his rehoming book.
The couple then contacted Wendy Jordan of SOL and explained that they had bought Shayla in good faith, as they wanted a rescue dog. She had been re-christened Lily and was doing very well, obviously happy in her new home - this was later borne out by photographs of Shayla/Lily that the couple e-mailed to Wendy and Alyson.
Trudy told an amusing little detail of how well Shayla settled into her new home. She had gone to the dogs’ home to find a German Shepherd-like dog, as she and Andrew had agreed that they liked dogs of this type. Instead, she had fallen for Shayla and brought her home. Andrew wasn’t very pleased, as he had set his heart on a GSD, although he conceded that Shayla/Lily was a pretty dog. He went to bed, still rather put out at Trudy’ s choice of dog. Shayla/Lily trotted after him and snuggled up to him on the bed and quickly won his heart. Trudy explained that Andrew couldn’t se himself with any dog other than Shayla/Lily now!
A meeting is soon to be arranged between Andrew, Trudy, Alyson and Shayla/Lily. Alyson said: "I am just so happy that Shayla – or Lily as she now is – has found such a wonderful new home.
That’s all I ever wanted for her, as she’s been through so much in her life. It was just so horrible that she was so callously sold on by a person who claimed to be a rescuer and who would lie about her actions.
"I’m looking forward to meeting Lily and her new owners sometime soon. I’m so grateful to them for giving her a new home and I’m very grateful to SOL for all their hard work in putting out the posters that led to us making contact."