|Dumped puppy ‘gift’ for grieving inspector
A tiny puppy was alone and frightened when he was found dumped in a pet carrier in the dark corner of a pub car park in Manchester last Christmas Eve.
Patrons were enjoying a Christmas Eve tipple before heading home to spend the festive holiday with their families when the pub landlord and landlady came inside The Welcome Inn, in Oldham, with a little bundle of fluff.
The little pup - a chihuahua initially nicknamed Buddy, after the Christmas elf - was reported to the RSPCA and Inspector Nichola Waterworth, who was just finishing her late shift, went to collect him.
She said: "The landlord and landlady found him when they moved their car. They phoned us and took him into the pub where some of their customers kindly kept hold of him until I arrived to collect him. I took him to Greater Manchester Animal Hospital for a check-up. They were so busy and I knew adding a demanding 10-week-old puppy to their list of animals needing care was asking a lot so I offered to take him home and foster him while I was off for the Christmas period."
And of course, Buddy - now named Hok'ee, which means 'abandoned' in Native American - never left.
Inspector Waterworth added: "I think he came at the right time. Just two weeks before I'd had to have my beloved German Shepherd, Meenah, put to sleep. I was heartbroken and swore I wouldn't have another dog for months, giving me time to grieve But then Hok'ee arrived like a gift from Santa! I spent Christmas Day with my family and my mum fell in love with the playful little pup. She said to me: 'Meenah has sent him to you for Christmas'. That was it, I burst into tears and knew he couldn't go anywhere!"
Hok'ee instantly befriended kitten Mouse, who Inspector Waterworth was hand-rearing over Christmas, and the pair are now inseparable. And when, a few months later, RSPCA rescue papillon Larry arrived, Hok'ee was thrilled to no longer be alone.
This Christmas, Inspector Waterworth, Hok'ee and Larry will, again, spend Christmas with her family - and their four other dogs.
Last year, the animal welfare charity's 24-hour cruelty hotline received 55,821 calls over Christmas (1 December - 31 December). The charity took in 5,429 animals during that time and provided care to 2,508 animals over Christmas itself. More than 8,000 animals spent Christmas in their care last year.