A farmer and his family were shocked when their neighbour knocked on the door of their home one lunchtime last summer to say that six puppies had been dumped on their land.
Becky, Charlotte and their parents* rushed down to the spot, the entrance to a field just off the road, to find six pups all huddled together in a corner, one yapping and crying.
They called the RSPCA, in August last year, and took the pups to a nearby vet. But, that wasn’t the end of the story for the family.
Youngest daughters Becky, 20, and Charlotte, 24, had fallen in love with two of the dogs – little poodle crosses Bertie and Nancy.
This week, the dogs’ story features on the new series of The Dog Rescuers on Channel 5, as the team revisit the family, from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, to see how the dogs are getting on almost a year on
Inspector Lauren Bailey, who launched an investigation, said: “They were amazing and rushed down with a dog crate and water to round the dogs up and make sure they were safe.
“They took them home and warmed them up as they were all shivering and soaking wet. They were all underweight and had skin problems with fur matted with sawdust.
“They were all different breeds – a beagle, a Yorkie, a lhasa apso, a puggle and the two poodle crosses – so we suspect they’d come from a puppy farm. I believe they were rejects because they were all either runts or had something wrong with them.
“My guess would be that when they didn’t sell, the dealer decided to dump them as they held no financial value.”
The family called the RSPCA and took the dogs to a local vet. The animal welfare charity then took the dogs in and launched an investigation but, unfortunately, the people responsible for abandoning them in such a state couldn’t be traced.
Becky said: “Bertie and Nancy were fostered by retired teacher Jane and then we adopted them.
“As soon as we found them that summer day we bonded straight away, and I fell in love with them. I knew from then that they weren’t going anywhere else!
“They are doing so well now. They’re so affectionate, I love them to bits.
“When we went out to help them that day we never intended on bringing any home! We already had seven dogs in the family – but now we have nine and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Bertie and Nancy now love the family’s other three dogs – Jack russell terriers George and Ted, and Millie the mongrel – as well as the other four dogs who belong to their older brother, 26-year-old Jamie, and eldest sister Hannah, 29, who live nearby.
“We can’t imagine life without them,” Becky added.
Bertie and Nancy’s story features on The Dog Rescuers on Channel 5 at 8pm on Tuesday 12 June.