Neglected dog finds a happy home

Rupert slice 1

When Rupert arrived in our care, his fur was so badly overgrown and matted that we couldn’t even tell what gender or breed he was.

The poor boy had been found wandering the streets alone, confused and barely able to see through the filthy clumps of fur covering his little face. All the knots pulling tightly on his skin must have been causing pain too.

What a relief it must have been for the shih tzu when he was finally clipped and bathed. But he then had to spend a week all by himself in the council pound to see if anyone claimed him - nobody did.

Rupert before
Poor Rupert was in a terrible state when he was found. His filthy, matted fur had to be shaved off completely.

Always safe now

And so Rupert, who is about 11 years old, returned to our Burford rehoming centre in Oxfordshire which set about finding him a home where he would always be safe.

Within days, David and Doreen Connop came across Rupert’s profile on our website. They struck up an instant bond with him when they visited the centre, and soon took him home.

The couple had been feeling lost after the death of their elderly dog Herbie, also a shih tzu, and wanted another pet to help mend their broken hearts.

Rupert with owners
Rupert with his loving owners, David and Doreen Connop.

Rupert has done exactly that, and in return, the Connops have taught him what it means to be truly loved.

“He’s our life”, said Doreen. “We wouldn’t part with him for anything, he’s just gorgeous.”

The couple, who are both in their 70s, were adamant that they wanted to rehome an older dog, a decision they say is filled with reward.

He’s our life. We wouldn’t part with him for anything, he’s just gorgeous.” Owner, Doreen Connop

“We were absolutely devastated when Herbie died. We only rehomed him three years earlier but we just felt that we’d done such a nice thing having an old dog. For the time we had him he wanted for nothing,” Doreen said.

“So we thought we’d do it again and that’s how Rupert came along. I’d choose an old dog any day. For an older couple like us it means we’re not committing ourselves to 15 years or more, and the fact that people don’t want older dogs and they just sit in kennels with nobody to love them is just horrific.”

Rupert took no time at all to settle into his new home in a Herefordshire retirement village, where he’s not just a hit with his owners but also the other residents he meets and greets on his daily strolls.

Rupert on walk

Zest for life

He spends hours every day exploring the couple’s flower-filled garden and running about with his favourite toy – a plastic orange bowl.

A fuss and cuddle on the sofa is another of his favourite pastimes and he has also become an avid television fan.

“He spent two weeks glued to the side of the television after watching a dog rescue programme – he thought the dogs were in there, he just couldn’t work it out,” laughed David.

Rupert tilting head
Rupert's zest for life motivates his owners, and they wouldn't be without him.

At the weekends he joins Doreen and David on family visits and loves to play with their young grandchildren.

In fact, inquisitive Rupert has so much energy that the couple initially thought that he might be younger than originally thought.

But his zest for life motivates Doreen and David, and together they’re the perfect team.

“He’s like a puppy sometimes – he’s like lightning when he runs. I take him for a walk every morning. He definitely gets us out more which is important as I have to keep moving because of the problems I have with my leg. And as soon as I start putting my socks on he knows he’s getting a walk,” David said.

Rupert in garden


Doreen continued: “Although he’s happy on his own, he’s rarely left because we take him everywhere in the crate in the car. But if we do go out, and it’s never more than three hours, when we get back it’s worth going out just for the greeting. He starts jumping up and down like he’s on springs as he’s so happy to see us!”

“Whatever we do in life it’s got to be for him,” added David.

Rupert has truly landed on his paws, and even has his own money box which Doreen and David put cash into each week for treats like a heated dog bed for winter.

Laura Crofts, Small Animal Manager at our Burford centre, said: “Poor Rupert was in such a story state when he arrived with us. It was an appalling case of neglect, and we were worried that his little soul would be shattered.

Rupert is rarely far from his new owners' side and enjoys going on most trips out with them.

“But as soon as he was groomed and cleaned up, and he realised that he was safe, we saw the bubbly, happy and affectionate dog he was. He just loves to be around people and he made us all smile here at the centre.

“We’re so pleased that he found such a wonderful home with Doreen and David. He really did deserve a happy ending and that’s exactly what he has found.”

Doreen added: “It’s so upsetting to see how much he must have suffered before coming to us, but that will never happen again. For the rest of his life he will only know love.

“He is a very special little dog and we feel very lucky that he is ours.”

Grooming your dog

All dogs, regardless of breed, need regular grooming. Dogs with long coats like Rupert also need clipping to keep their fur at a manageable length. Had this been done for him, it would have saved so much suffering. Rupert now enjoys regular trips to the groomers and his coat always looks in tip top condition thanks to his caring new owners. Read our advice on brushing your dog, choosing the right groomers and how to help your pet through a fear of grooming here.

Rupert on walk
— Page last updated 22/01/2018