Sonny’s Story…

Sonny, 9th January 2009 – 5th June 2009.

Sonny, just after being handed over to Westie rescue Irealnd

Sonny was a delightful pup that was handed into the care of Westie Rescue in April 2009, aged only 16 weeks.

Sonny’s sad story acts as a warning to anybody who buys dogs through free-ad/cheap ad websites, from breeders who don’t give a damn about the pups they sell, or the owners who buy them.

It is so easy to source a Westie online, or in the free-ads newspapers. In many cases, they’re cheaper than buying them from a reputable breeder, and many of them are sold unregistered (without papers), making them even cheaper.

But buyer beware! This is false economy, as these cut-price dogs are mass-produced by people who are only interested in profit. The new owner is the one that’s left with the problem.

Westies bred by such cowboys are often unhealthy, malnourished, and have serious behavioural problems due to the poor start they have in life. Sonny’s story illustrates the point very well, unfortunately.

Sonny was bought by his original owners as an 8 week old pup. They noticed that his back legs were stained yellow, and when they asked the Wicklow/Wexford-based breeder what this staining was, they were told it was from the mother licking the pup. This was a lie, but the owners were not experienced enough to question this ridiculous explanation.

Photo of Sonny

It turned out that Sonny had a congenital urinary defect, which made him incontinent. Everywhere he walked, he dribbled urine behind him.

When he slept, urine dribbled onto him, burning his skin and turning his fur yellow.

The owners were told by their vet that this could only be fixed with an extremely expensive (1200 euros) operation.

They simply could not afford this. They had already had to send Sonny back to his breeder once for a lump to be removed from the base of his tail. And so, Sonny was surrendered to Westie Rescue.

We spent a lot of time getting Sonny’s condition properly diagnosed, with X-rays and scans. Sonny was prodded at and poked and went through so much, and all the while he remained cheerful and patient. Eventually, a date was set for his reconstructive surgery, which we were getting at a reduced rate thanks to our fantastic vet.

We wanted Sonny to be in a loving, caring foster home before his operation, so that when he came home from his op, he’d be in a familiar place with people he knew. The lucky little fella was offered a foster home with Audrey and her wonderful family in Dublin. Nobody knew Sonny better than Audrey and her family, so I’ll hand over now to Audrey!

Photo of Sonny
“When myself and Alfie picked this little man up from Maureen and Bob we were really excited, it had been 3 years since we had a pup in the house. It was the 5th of May 09.

When we brought him home he just took over! My own two Westies Lucy 5, and Lilly 3, tried to put Sonny in his place but that didnt work!

He was as bright as a button, even with his little problem Sonny was house trained in 3 days!!! Once while i was hanging out some washing he did a poo, I didn’t praise him so he sat watching me for a few mins then went back to the poo and started barking at me as if to say “mam where is my treat? Look what I have done!”

I don’t think I would have given him back. I would have been one of those failed fosters!

While waiting for his op and the days went by we were falling in love with our Sonny. Well who wouldn’t?
Sonny’s op was Friday the 5th of June. We brought him to the vets. We left his blanky with him, gave him kisses and came home to wait for Maureen to call.

At 4.45 Maureen rang and she was crying. She said Sonny never woke up from the op, and all i could say was I have his chicken and rice ready! Although we only had him for 31 days our hearts were broken.

Thank you Maureen for giving us the time with him and thank you Sonny for filling our hearts with so much love.”

Audrey, Alfie, Amy, Robyn, Lilly and Lucy, June 2009.

We’ll never know why Sonny didn’t survive the operation, but he had a lot of internal problems that he was born with. I don’t want Sonny’s death to be in vain.

Sonny deserved to live a happy and healthy life, but because of human greed and selfishness, his life ended when he was still a pup. Please, never buy a pup from an internet site. Go by the proper channels, and make sure you never, ever buy a pup unless you have seen it with it’s mother on the breeder’s premises.

Don’t take the breeder’s word for it that the place is clean and well-run. Go and see for yourself, even if it means driving for miles: a good breeder has nothing to hide. This is a 15 year commitment you’re making- the biggest mistake is often made before the pup is ever purchased, by buyers who don’t know that the world of Westie production is fraught with pitfalls.

Always contact the IKC, or Westie Rescue, to find a reputable Westie breeder. Westie Rescue is not affiliated to any kennel club or breed society, and we will always give impartial and honest information. We do not condone indiscriminate breeding in any form, but we will support breeders who are doing a good job and who look out for their pups for life.

Best of all, why not adopt a rescued Westie instead? You will be playing your part to stop the scandalous dog over-population in Ireland, and giving an unwanted Westie a new start! We stand by every dog we rehome for the rest of their lives, and we’re always there to support each adopter if they need help.

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