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From wandering the streets to a loving home

When he was found wandering the streets alone, poor Dudley was scared and in terrible pain.

The English bull terrier could barely see a thing due to a horrific eye infection which had been left untreated and was suffering with sore skin and paws, as well as struggling to hear.

It’s thought his previous owner had abandoned him, probably unable to afford the veterinary bills to treat the poorly five-year-old dog.

But watching him now happily bound around the garden of his new home and curl up on the sofa between his doting owners, it’s clear that this once neglected boy knows he has now found real love.

After successful treatment for his health issues and nearly three months at Blue Cross’s Tiverton rehoming centre, Brendan Burr and Karen Hallett, from Bristol, took him home on New Year’s Day.

Mending broken hearts

Not only was it a fresh start for Dudley, it was for his new owners, too.

Brendan said: “We do a lot of work with rescue bullies, and always keep our eye out for any with rescue charities. We had seen Dudley on the website, and kept checking on him.

“At the time, we had our girl Indie, another English bull terrier, and we couldn’t have had a second dog. She was diagnosed with cancer late last year- it was devastating, she was only three. She passed away a few days before Christmas, and we were absolutely heartbroken.

“Then, when I saw Dudley was still up for rehoming I knew we had to help him. He had had a couple of people enquire about him, but they never followed it through – we think his eye problems were probably putting people off. But we knew we couldn’t let him down.”

Karen said: “He’s made us happy again and he’s brought us love. After losing Indie, it was really hard, but he’s really made us focus on something positive again. And he’s just so lovely, he loves cuddles – as soon as you walk through the door he just comes straight in for a cuddle, and loves to snuggle up on the sofa with us.”

No looking back

Dudley wasted no time in settling into his new lifestyle – he joins Brendan during the day in his work as a locksmith, in between relaxing at home and walks to the local village or across the sweeping countryside of the Mendip Hills surrounding their home.

Karen said: “The first day we brought him home, he was quite restless – I guess it was because he had spent so long in kennels. But from the second day it was like he had always been here, he settled in really quick. Now he loves to sleep and chill out.”

Brendan said: “On his first night I was up at 3am walking around the village, and wondered what I had let myself in for. But I came back, sat on the sofa and closed my eyes - and then I woke up and looked around and he was curled up asleep next to me. He looked so content.”

Mystery

But Dudley’s background remains a mystery. He was saved from the council pound in Wales by the charity Hope Rescue and then taken in by Blue Cross, which got his health back on track.

During his time at our Tiverton rehoming centre, Dudley became one of our most popular residents - not only among the team, but also with our other pets.

Lauren Chilton, Animal Welfare Assistant, said: “Dudley was a fantastic chap, super friendly and outgoing. We had another very nervous dog called Toffee at the time, and Dudley was a great walking buddy because he gave him loads of confidence.

“He was also great at break times in the team room and loved being the centre of attention. We tried to give him as much time in the team room, home room and offsite as possible because he was very depressed in his kennel and would just sit forlorn in his bed and not eat.

”So we are over the moon to see him in such an amazing home with owners that love him so much.”

Brendan said: “We can’t believe he was a stray, as he’s such a lovely dog. He had obviously had a home before as he’s so affectionate.

“Somebody has clearly spent time training him – he’s knows all the commands and is absolutely fantastic when you take him out on a lead, he doesn’t pull.

“We think they must have not been able to afford the vet treatment for his eyes and abandoned him. But we’ve told him he’s going nowhere now, no matter what.”

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Promoting his breed

Dudley is also helping to promote his breed through events organised by West Country Bullie Walks (WCBW), a charity which Brendan and Karen devote much of their spare time to helping.

Not only does the organisation help with the cost of vets bills for bull terriers, it hosts regular large scale dog walks – with Dudley now an active participant.

“Most weekends we’re out with all the other English bull terriers in the group. He’s been on quite a few of those walks and loves all the dogs he meets, he’s so happy to meet any other dog or any new people,” said Karen, a trustee of WCBW.

And in May, he will enjoy his first bull terrier camping weekend – the Bullie Bash – when up to 100 dogs are brought together with their owners for two days of beach walks and events.

True love

Dudley couldn’t be happier in this new life, and he knows he’ll always have a loving home now.

His owners can't imagine life without him either.

Karen said: “He makes me laugh every single day with his funny ways, he is really comical.”

“A lot of people don’t know much about the breed, but they’re called the clown dog and you can see exactly why with Dudley,” joked Brendan.

Karen added: “We have really fallen on our feet with Dudley. He’s been amazing and we love him to bits.”

— Page last updated 9/11/2016