Rescue dogs find loving homes after six years shut in crates

Lila/Jemima (right) and Bella (left) were rescued by the RSPCA after spending the first six years of their lives in a crate

Lila/Jemima (left) and Bella (right) were rescued by the RSPCA after spending the first six years of their lives in a crate - Credit: RSPCA

A pair of poodle crosses that had spent their lives shut in a crate have found their forever homes after being rescued by the RSPCA.

Bella and Lila, who are both six years old, arrived at the Martlesham Animal Centre in February 2021 after inspectors visited their former home.

Kennel supervisor Natalie Wood said: “Bella and Lila had led such restricted, sheltered lives and we believe they’d only had very limited time out of their crates, so they'd barely experienced the outside world.

"They were completely shut down and were terrified of everything and everyone.

“Their coats were matted and dirty, tangled with urine and faeces.

When the dogs were rescued, their fur was matted with urine and faeces 

When the dogs were rescued, their fur was matted with urine and faeces - Credit: RSPCA

"They had fleas, their nails were overgrown, their ears were thick with dirt and their teeth were covered in plaque.

"Both were displaying extremely fearful behaviours and we were unable to approach them or handle them.”

Most Read

Staff at the animal centre spent weeks gaining Bella and Lila's trust, assessing them, and developing plans to rehabilitate them ready for new homes. 

Staff at the RSPCA worked hard over a period of months to 

Staff at the RSPCA worked hard over a period of months to - Credit: RSPCA

Ms Wood added: “It took two months until we were able to take Lila out for her first walk off the site, and a further month until Bella would venture outside the safety of the centre with us. That was a huge milestone for us.

“After months of slow and gradual work we had a breakthrough in May when Lila, who’d developed a strong bond with our kennel assistant, Lucy, learned to rush over to her when she arrived at her kennel each morning and put her paws onto her shoulders as if to give her a hug."

"It was a beautiful moment.”

Lila, now named Jemima was adopted by Deborah Turpin and her family in Suffolk and now lives with eight-year-old retired racing greyhound Sam. 

They were looking for another dog after the death of their border terrier and saw Jemima's profile online. 

Jemima out for a walk with her new friend Sam the Greyhound

Jemima out for a walk with her new friend Sam the Greyhound - Credit: Deborah Turpin

“Her video was heartbreaking and I just couldn’t get her out of my mind,” Deborah said.

“What she’d been through was unimaginable and I knew we had to give her a chance. We decided to rename her as we wanted her to leave her old life, and her old name, behind her.”

Jemima moved into her new home in October 2021 and her new family set about helping her settle down. 

“She is an absolute dream, she’s such a superstar,” Deborah added. “She has a wonderful personality and is so affectionate. She rushes up to us every morning to give us a cuddle; she obviously has six years of cuddles to make up for.

"We had no idea we needed a little white curly-haired dog as much as we do!

Jemima celebrating Christmas with her new family

Jemima celebrating Christmas with her new family - Credit: Deborah Turpin

“The most enormous credit goes to the team at Martlesham who helped her after what she went through; they instilled such confidence in her. We’re overwhelmed by the work that they did with her and how easy they’ve made the process for us.

“Now Jemima is becoming quite cheeky and loves to spend time with us. She is so happy, has wonderful manners, and is very clever and eager to learn. She loved her first visit to the beach, enjoys going in the car, and had a fabulous first Christmas.

“She is an absolute joy and embraces life with enormous enthusiasm. She has every reason to hate everybody, but she is so happy and is game for everything!”

Bella was also adopted, though she had to travel further to find her new home— all the way to Scotland. 

Her new owner said "Bella is doing very well" and that they "feel very fortunate to have her."

Bella the poodle cross in her new home in Scotland

Bella in her new home in Scotland - Credit: RSPCA

To help the RSPCA rescue more animals in need, like Bella and Jemima, please visit rspca.org.uk/give to donate.

To support the work of Martlesham Animal Centre - run by the Suffolk Central branch - please visit rspca-suffolkcentral.org.uk/donate to make a donation.