My SF's car has had new tyres, brakes, starter motor and battery recently, which is not bad as it is 14 years old. All it needs is a new body and it'll be as good as Trigger's 17 year old broom!
SASHA FRENCH BULLDOG
Michael is married to my lovely neice (he is lovely as well) and I knew Sasha from a pup. We went up to the North East one New Year and they came up as well and brought Sasha, the new puppy
with them. She was so cute as a pup and they spent a lot of time house training and walking her.
When we left to go home, I bundled her under my arm and pretended
to sneak her home with me!
I am glad she is happy now.
Importing pets from Eastern Europe yields heartbreaking behavioural
PUBLISHED: 09:29, Mon, May 7, 2018 | UPDATED: 10:07, Mon, May 7, 2018
AS A journalist I should have known the omens weren't good: buying a cut-price Lithuanian-born French Bulldog on the eve of the Leveson Report's
publication. I'd found her on the internet for sale from a seller living just a few streets away.
She was a cute, furry
bundle of fun (the dog, not the seller) who would be a lovely pre-Christmas gift for the family.
I saw a future where we'd all go for long, idyllic walks in the park like all those
perfect famousfamilies do on Instagram and everything would be lovely. Right? Hmmm.
The kids named the cute, furry, bundle of fun Sasha and for the first nine
months or so everything went to plan - bar the occasion I took her to the park in her first snowstorm, let her off the lead and she sprinted half a mile home across two main roads back to our house with me swearing loudly in red-faced, hot pursuit.
The snub-nosed looks and usually playful nature of "Frenchies" have helped launch them to a point where they'll soon overtake the labrador as Britain's favourite breed.
Eastern European dog breeding yielded sometimes horrific results
those from abroad have usually been born and transported in horrific circumstances, thus triggering unpredictable behaviour and downright mayhem similar to that seen in some of the wilder Tasmanian Devil cartoons.
Sadly that's what happened with Sasha. From nowhere she would suddenly tense up and start to shake before pouncing - usually to take a bite at someone's fingers. I, my wife, two children and my dad all fell victim to her sudden attacks
that usually managed to draw blood.
Seconds later she would be playful again but we were worried and started to cut down on allowing visitors into the house and we stopped taking
her on family visits.
We found a dog training school and kennels who said they'd be willing to help us train the unpredictable aggression out of her. They also said they'd look
after her while we headed up north for New Year's celebrations with our family.
And it's not hard to see why judging by the reaction from people in the street as I took her for
walks. Everyone who passed would stop to comment on how adorable she was, particularly when she started to show the first of her behavioural "quirks" which saw her lying spread-eagled refusing to budge an inch further once she decided she was tired.
This wasn't a huge problem to start with given that she was just about a foot and a half long but as she grew bigger and heavier it didn't seem as funny as I puffed and panted back home from walks
with her in my arms.
After nine months matters took a darker turn. Of course I'd vaguely listened to the scare stories about buying the breed, particularly those who had been born
in Eastern Europe.
There's already a whole host of "normal" problems associated with them: breathing and spinal troubles, ear infections and chronic diarrhoea to name but a few.
MICHAEL BOOKER Eastern European dog breeding yielded sometimes horrific results
But those from abroad have usually been born and transported in horrific circumstances, thus triggering unpredictable behaviour and downright mayhem similar to that
seen in some of the wilder Tasmanian Devil cartoons.
Sadly that's what happened with Sasha. From nowhere she would suddenly tense up and start to shake before pouncing - usually
to take a bite at someone's fingers. I, my wife, two children and my dad all fell victim to her sudden attacks that usually managed to draw blood.
Seconds later she would be playful
again but we were worried and started to cut down on allowing visitors into the house and we stopped taking her on family visits.
We found a dog training school and kennels who
said they'd be willing to help us train the unpredictable aggression out of her. They also said they'd look after her while we headed up north for New Year's celebrations with our family.
hours after dropping her off things took an even darker turn. I was settled down watching Goldfinger with my first New Year's Eve drink when disaster struck… and I don't mean the bit where Goldfinger turns on the laser heading for Sean Connery's groin.
My mobile buzzed into life with a strange number on the screen. I answered it whereupon I found myself talking to a vet who said that Sasha had been found whimpering in her kennel that morning unable to move her back
legs. He explained that some of the discs in her spine had disintegrated.
As I stood ashen-faced 270 miles away from our paralysed pet among a house full of happy New Year
revellers he said we could have her put down or go ahead with £3,000 worth of treatment that might or might not help her walk again. Like Bond I suddenly had a Licence To Kill but we couldn't face that. And luckily we were insured.
Despite her violent "quirks" we did love her and so decided on an MRI scan followed by spinal surgery that evening at the Queen Mother Hospital for Animals in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. It was four
hours later when my phone buzzed again. This time it was the surgeon who'd operated on her back. The news was good: Sasha had survived the op and the signs were she'd make it through the night.
We kept in touch before we could go to see her but even the experts were having trouble. They explained how the docile arrival in hospital had turned post-op into a demon trying to attack the surgeon that had saved her!
When we arrived to pick her up - now complete with an eight-inch scar down her back and a wobbly set of back legs - they looked relieved to be getting rid of her.
It was then up to us to help her regain as much movement as possible. Morning and evening before and after long days at work I'd be at one end feeding her
chicken while at the other my wife would be massaging Sasha's legs, all the while praying she wouldn't suddenly go off the chicken and go for one of our throats.
After a few months she was walking relatively normally but the cranky behaviour gradually worsened.
Things were so bad that over the next two and a half years we virtually banned visitors unless Sasha was locked away in the kitchen.
At the same time we spent a huge amount of cash on training courses to tame a dog that we'd come to both love and loathe.
Things came to a head after nearly four years of struggle and - mainly for the safety of the kids - we decided to have her re-homed with the help of the kennels where she had done most of her training.
I'm lucky to have avoided too much death so far in my life. But seeing her look back at us with those pleading eyes as we walked away after
dropping her off triggered the sort of tearful grief I'd associate with a family bereavement.
a couple of miles away to a coffee shop while Sasha met her potential new owner - who was very caring and experienced with the breed and had a number of dogs - at the kennels.
Amazingly we both decided that we'd take her back like a shot but we were told in a phone call that they'd all got on famously. We made the hour's drive back home in total silence and
the house felt empty for days.
Ultimately it was for the best and we still get regular updates about
her new life, although she now has another name as part of her fresh start.
So if this Bank Holiday Monday
you suddenly get the itch to buy a French Bulldog to complete your family unit make sure you find out as much as you can about it - for your sake and the dog's.