Seven puppies left to die in a cat carrier have now been found homes ahead of Christmas thanks to the support of Clymping Dog Sanctuary.
Nicknamed Tinsel, Santa, Elf, Olaf, Rudolph, Holly and Star by sanctuary staff, the eight-week old saluki cross lurcher puppies were discovered by a man from Midhurst dumped in his back garden, who rushed them to the vets for life-saving treatment.
When they were brought to the sanctuary in Ford Road, Ford, on Thursday, December 12, sanctuary manager Nigel Stentiford said they were ‘the worst condition puppies I have had in 21 years here’.
The five dogs and two bitches weighed 3kg instead of 6kg, were riddled with worms and fleas, suffered from rickets and malnutrition and were eating each other’s waste to survive.
A week on, and the pups have more than doubled their body weight – and despite a bout of diarrhoea which has prevented them from moving in with their new owners right away, Nigel, 58, was confident they would be okay.
A Facebook appeal for owners was viewed 90,000 times and the sanctuary had hundreds of responses as far afield as America and Scotland, but the pups will be rehomed locally, from Bognor Regis and Littlehampton to Havant and Eastbourne.
Nigel said: “It is absolutely incredible; its the power of social media.”
Volunteer Sue Knight, 63, from Rustington, said: “I have never met such polite, calm, mannerly puppies. They are so sweet.”
Nigel said that the puppies were likely a result of ‘backstreet breeding’ and were dumped after those responsible were ‘unable to sell them’.
He warned that the ‘dogs are for life, not just for Christmas’ campaign was actually a fallacy, because most dogs were dumped ‘as soon as the clocks go back and the weather changes’. He said: “Before getting a dog or puppy, look at your personal circumstances and whether you have time for a dog. It is like having another baby in the house.”
Set up in 1952 by Kathleen Grellier and her friend the then Duchess of Norfolk, the sanctuary has rehomed 2,500 unwanted or stray dogs in the last 20 years.
It relies on fundraising and support by volunteers and people thinking of them in their wills to drum up the £50,000 a year needed for running costs.
To donate or volunteer, visit its website, clympingdogsanctuary.co.uk, or Facebook page.