Posted: 04.08.20 at 13:33 by LAYTH YOUSIF @HitchinNubNews
A Hitchin mum of two has called on people looking at buying a new puppy after lockdown to consider adopting a rescue dog instead.
With the price of dogs going through the roof during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic - as families seek canine comfort in an uncertain world - a Hitchin mum has asked animal lovers to think about the option of rehoming a rescue dog.
With private breeders quoting a staggering £2,000 for pedigree breeds such as cockapoos, Hitchin mum of two, Kimberley Jones suggests the option of taking in a rescue – after doing just that when adopting her loveable labrador ‘Buddy’.
Kimberley and her partner Mark had been looking for a dog for her two children prior to lockdown, but when Covid struck, prices shot up due to the demand from many who were seeking company and comfort from a canine pal.
The busy mum whose two children attend Hitchin’s Wilshere-Dacre Junior Academy, had been registered before lockdown with Labrador Retriever Rescue Southern England, which helps to rehome the breed - before receiving a call late last month to say they had found a suitable dog for her and her family.
Kimberley takes up Buddy’s sad backstory after the adorable three-year-old golden labrador joined her family in Hitchin. With Buddy and his previous owners dealt a sad hand, canine and humans responded with courage to make the best of a tragic situation.
“Buddy’s previous owners approached the trust to find the right family for him,” Kimberley told Hitchin Nub News, adding: “This followed a series of serious health, time and finance issues that affected their ability to look after him as well as they could.
“As is the case with many dog rehoming stories, circumstances conspired against Buddy and the family he had been with since he was a puppy - meaning that as much as they absolutely loved Buddy, they couldn’t really keep him.”
Buddy lived with a mum and dad and two young children. Unfortunately the family lost their grandfather to terminal cancer, before the mum was diagnosed with an aggressive form of MS.
In a string of awful events, the grandmother was also diagnosed with terminal cancer – leaving the stricken mother to nurse her. With a lack of cash coming in, the husband took on two jobs to make ends meet, meaning Buddy’s first family simply didn’t have the time required to give him the love, care and attention that they had given previously – which is where Kimberley and partner Mark stepped in.
“The family, including the two young children aged four and six, were devastated beyond belief to lose Buddy,” Kimberely says sadly, adding: “But as hard as it was, they were also reassured that he was going to start a new life in a new loving home.”
Prior to Buddy’s arrival in Hitchin, Kimberley and Mark found their reputable dog rehoming website in LRRSE and started filling in a raft of forms.
The couple were vetted thoroughly to ensure they were to be an excellent home for Buddy, including answering questions on previous dogs they had.
They were also asked to send a video of their home, garden and the road they live on, as well as listing other dogs Buddy will come into contact with - and why they wanted to rehome a rescue dog rather than buy a new one.
After the centre had completed their rigorous checks, the Hitchin couple, who refused to fork out thousands of pounds on a new dog during lockdown, eventually received the good news they were to be Buddy’s new family.
With lockdown easing measures on hold, most rehoming centres are currently not open for public browsing, but you can still make an appointment to adopt or bring a dog to their centres.
So, Kimberley and Mark travelled down to Chessington in Surrey, to pick up Buddy from LRRSE, with the centre having strict processes in place to minimise the risk of infection, including social distancing measures, to help keep staff and visitors safe.
As soon as the couple saw Buddy their hearts melted and they bonded straight away.
Kimberley explains: “We love dogs. And labradors are wonderful. They’re the most amazing dog to have. They’re very good family dogs which is quite important and when trained they’re incredible. They’re loyal and placid. They’ve very sensitive.
“They can actually pick up eggs in their mouths and not break them. That’s how gentle they are. I had a labrador before, and I know how kind-natured they are.
“My heart melted when I first saw a picture of Buddy prior to meeting him. He’s just adorable.
“I would recommend anyone who is looking for a dog - but can’t afford the sky-high prices some breeders are charging - to look at the option of rehoming a rescue.
“We loved Buddy from the moment we saw him and have promised his previous family that we will always look after him and love him. We’re going to send pictures of Buddy to them so they can still have him in their lives and see how he’s getting on with us.”
There are a number of rescue centres in the south of England who care for dogs due to unfortunate or unforeseen family circumstances – such as Buddy - or who haven’t had the best start in life and are looking for loving homes.
Kimberley said: “There are so many dogs out there that it seems to be more logical to adopt one than buy one. We couldn’t believe our luck.
“It feels like we’ve won the lottery with our new dog Buddy.
“He’s happy. He’s healthy. You can tell he’s been trained well. We’re just besotted with him.
“I would say, don’t pity a dog that’s been rehomed or rescued – adopt one.”
However, the story doesn’t end there.
With Kimberley’s two young sons on holiday in England with their father this week, they are still unaware mum and Mark now have an additional member of the family.
Kimberley explained that the children will be overjoyed when they see their new pet later this week. “They’ll be bouncing off the walls. They’ll be so excited,” she said.
“The kids are visiting their father. They know we’ve been looking for a dog but they don’t know we’ve got Buddy.
“Buddy is coming into a home full of love, just as he was loved in his previous home. We’re so happy. We might even film the kids reaction when they see Buddy for the first time.”
“They’re going to be deliriously happy.”
Labrador Retriever Rescue Southern England is a registered charity that rehomes purebred and Labrador Retriever crosses spread between Oxfordshire, Surrey, Gloucestershire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Wiltshire.