Dog days over for Barney as Newport woman brings Thai canine to UK after spotting him on holiday
A Thai street dog has been rescued and brought back to the UK by a Newport woman after she witnessed several brutal attacks on the animal while holidaying in the country.
Jo Shepherd, of Bury Water Lane, spent two weeks visiting Chang Mai, Bangkok and Koh Samui with her husband, Jeff, 57, and two friends in August last year.
It was during the trip to the island of Koh Samui that first she came across the dog - now named Barney - being attacked by three other dogs on a private beach.
The 58-year-old dog lover, who works in administration at Saffron Walden Community Hospital, says she immediately wanted to help the animal and bring him home with her.
She said: “It was awful to witness him being attacked by the three dogs. The first time I saw it happen on the beach, my husband and I managed to shoo them away but as I kept my eye on him, these attacks continued. It seemed like every time he popped his head up, he would be set upon.
“This went on for two days, before I couldn’t stand it any longer. I wouldn’t say it was ruining my holiday, but I was thinking about him more and more.
“In the end, we took him back to our hotel room and started caring for him and feeding him. I suppose we fell for him really and formed such a bond that I didn’t want to go home without him.”
Jo’s daughter Stacey, who was back in the UK, searched the internet and found a rescue centre on the island where the Newport couple were able to pay for Barney’s vaccinations and microchipping.
She said: “Although the rescue centre do a great job with the resources they have available to them, they just patch the dogs up and put them back out on the street. I knew we had to get him back to the UK with us, and we began to look into making it happen.”
It turned out to be long process that took more than six months and Jo was forced to fundraise and sell items from her house to try to find the £1,450 to get Barney to the UK.
She said: “I set up a crowdfunding page, and put on boot sales to try to raise the money we needed. We fell quite short, but managed to get enough together in the end.
“It wasn’t really about the money though, it was about getting him home.”
Barney finally arrived via a cargo flight to Heathrow on March 16, and Jo says he is settling in very well to his new Newport surroundings.
She said: “He’s been absolutely perfect. We’ve got two other dogs so he’s had to get used to them as well as being in a house in a new country. He’s taken on more than we have, but he’s doing very well.”