Washing Machine Dog

December 30, 2007 at 12:02 am Leave a comment

Dramatic rescue of “Washing Machine” dog
by Sheila Toney
Published in the Madeira Times Newspaper
When two young men living in Canico were visiting friends in the Santa Cruz area two years ago, they noticed a tiny dog tied by a short chain to its “home” – a disused washing machine in a private garden. Both were so appaled by the plight of the animal that they agreed on an unorthodox plan for its rescue.At 2.00am that night, Alistair Townson, who is British and his Madeiran partner, Joao Silva Abreu returned to the garden. They quickly freed the little dog from the washing machine, which had apparently been his prison for some years and spirited him away to safety. Alistair takes up the story:“We rescued this little animal (he is called Scrappy Doo) from a life of hell. Until we got him home, we thought he was dark brown. However, seven baths later, his fur turned out to be a beautiful light tan. Scrappy’s body was covered in ticks and fleas and we had to fumigate our whole house in the middle of the night. The little dog was starving so we fed him milk and ham, which was all we had available at that time – we had not expected to ‘adopt’ a dog so suddenly!” He continues: “Early next morning, we took Scrappy to SPAD where he was checked over by one of their veterinarians and had a micro-chip inserted with our name.We were told that, sadly, he had a tapeworm in his heart but, through the dedication of SPAD staff and a course of injections, that problem was resolved. The SPAD vet told us that Scrappy could have collapsed and died at any time but that, thanks to us, he had been given a second chance”.

Joao, like Alistair, is in his 30’s. He was born in Madeira but brought up in the UK from the age of two until he was 16.How has Scrappy Doo (named after Scooby Doo) settled down with Alistair and Joao, who now live just outside Lisbon? Alistair says: “We had to teach him to play because he had never played; we had to teach him about love because he had never been loved. In the two years we have had him, he has barked only four times. He is now nine years old, happy and loving”. He adds: “Would I act in the same way to save another dog like Scrappy? The answer is ‘yes’! So if you see a little dog in trouble, don’t turn a blind eye – give it a second chance of life”.A last word from Suzette Steyn, Administrator of SPAD: “Of course, we cannot agree with the ‘stealing’ of animals but I think that this is a great example of the way an abandoned animal can recover with a little tender love and care”.


Entry filed under: MISC.


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