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Happy Sixth ‘Gotcha’ Day to Amazing Nell, 16, a True Survivor who Endured a Decade on a Puppy Farm

Nell is an amazing 16-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who spent 10 years being used as a breeding machine on a puppy farm in Ireland. She was re-homed from Dogs Trust Darlington on 1st August 2016 by our editor Marie Carter-Robb. 

Before her new, best life, started, Nell was incarcerated on an Irish puppy farm where she was forced to have litter after litter in the name of profit. Vets said she’d had multiple litters, severe ear infections, most of her teeth had been removed and her muscles were hardly developed due to a complete lack of exercise over the years. Poor Nell, who most likely was nameless for a decade, was probably kept in cramped conditions, perhaps fed hormones to produce a more regular heat, and be more ‘commercially productive’ for her owners. Hers was a life characterised by the need for survival. 

Nell is a true survivor and, thankfully, has no lasting mental or emotional scars from her tragic experiences. She could write a book about the horrors of her life, but, knowing Nell, even if she could put pen to paper, she’d say she’d rather just put it all behind her and live in the moment! We could all learn something from Nell.

I first met Nell at Dogs Trust Darlington’s annual Fun Dog Show. She caught my eye as I love Cavaliers and have had them as pets for years. It was quite unusual to see a rescue Cavalier, so I walked over to say ‘hello’. She was shy, but had the most beautiful eyes, and a soft manner. Unfortunately, I discovered that Nell had already been re-homed. I was sad, but glad for her at the same time.  

Despite this, I had a niggling feeling that I shouldn’t give up, and that I might see Nell again. So, I, along with a very understanding husband, drove to the Dogs Trust, and I left my details with the admin team on the off-chance that Nell’s new home should fall through.

I thought nothing of it and tried to put Nell to the back of my mind, until a week and a half later Dogs Trust phoned to say Nell’s home had indeed not worked out. Her prospective new owners had had a change of heart and decided that were too old to take on a new dog. 

My heart leapt!

A few complications later and a week after on 1st August, I raced to pick up Nell from Dogs Trust. It was the most wonderful day. 

After coming out of her shell over a period of several weeks, Nell or ‘Nellie’ was abundant with her licks, cuddles and nuzzles. She loves her walks, and is inquisitive about the world around her. Her pads were pink and puppy soft through lack of walking and I still call her my ‘grown up puppy’ because of her need for love and attention and her excitement for life.

Since her adoption almost six years ago, she’s been on countryside walks, run along beaches and stayed at pretty holiday cottages all over the UK. She loves life. She was a lovely companion for Sophie, who sadly passed away in April. She is also adoptive mum to five year old Rufus, who loves her so much. He is regularly to be found licking and cleaning his ‘mum’ and jumps up to comfort her if she ever shouts due to an arthritic twinge. 

Rufus has become the forever son she never had – it’s heartbreaking to think of all the pups that were taken away from her. Poor Nell, the most loving dog, was used so badly. Thankfully, she has now had some joy in her life, and she loves her cuddles. Sitting next to her on a sofa, she will lift your arm for a soothing hug. She receives many, many cuddles a day. I just want to make up for all the cuddles and kisses she missed over so many years. 

Amazingly, I discovered that Nell’s ‘birthday’ is 1st May which is also my birthday! It seems that Nell and I were meant to be…