A man spent thousands adopting a Great Dane and her doggy soul mate from a sanctuary in Sri Lanka after she was found severely neglected and barely alive.
Two-year-old Cindy couldn’t walk due to life-threatening pressure sores, she had open wounds exposing her hip bone and weighed just two and a half stone when she arrived at the Animal SOS Sri Lanka sanctuary in December 2018.
The team who nursed her back to health feared she wasn’t going to make it, but now, Cindy and her best friend Eddy – a one-and-a-half-year-old Jack Russel mix – are now in full health and living their best lives on a farm in Marton, Cheshire.
Owner of the farm, Sean Burke, fell in love with Cindy while visiting the shelter and vowed to adopt her once she made a full recovery.
The 52-year-old said: ‘I didn’t know how she was still alive, the state she was in.
I thought: “how can anyone allow this to happen to such a beautiful dog?” ‘She was barely conscious a lot of the time, but she was so gentle and I thought if she recovered then she deserved a new life.
She’s a lovely, comforting, gentle giant. It was my duty to get her out of that situation.’
Cindy was first spotted in a bad way in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo. Somebody contacted the shelter and they came to collect her and drove her two hours south.
‘Cindy’s previous owners had given up on her and I assume they had no idea how to look after her,’ says shelter owner Kim Cooling. ‘When she arrived at the shelter she was like a skeleton. She couldn’t walk and she could barely lift her head, she was in such a terrible state.
‘She was covered in faeces too, but she was too weak to be bathed so we ended up using two bottles of dry shampoo on her. We had to squirt food down her throat to keep her alive because was too sick to eat and drink on her own.
Kim says Cindy was on the brink of death for a few weeks and it was touch and go whether she was going to pull through.
‘At the shelter, we kept her in a room at the back of the clinic so that we could keep an eye on her and Eddy, and they became very close friends,’ she adds.
‘He had come to the shelter with his hind legs paralysed after being hit by a car and we were teaching him to walk again. They were like little and large and they formed a very close bond.
Now, they’re like boyfriend and girlfriend.’ After visiting Cindy at the sanctuary, Sean vowed to take her home, along with her miniature best friend.
Once Cindy had made a full recovery, the pair flew out to the UK to start their new life with Sean.
Sean paid for the duo’s travel costs to the UK, which came to £4,500, with the flights and crating setting him back £3,500 alone and rabies tests, dog passports and admin costs another £1,000.
He even had to get a special crate made to transport Cindy, because the 5ft 8 pooch was too big to be flown back in a normal sized one.
Cindy and Eddy are now settling into life in Sean’s Cheshire farmhouse, which he recently moved to, and are enjoying playing in the four-acre grounds with his other two dogs, 10-year-old Sheepdog-Dalmatian mix, Fella, and four-year-old Lurcher, Prince.
‘I adopted them both because it would have been heart-breaking to split them up,’ explains Sean.
‘They were fabulous from the moment they arrived. She can cause a real mess: she has chewed so many shoes and coats and she’s always knocking things over, but I certainly don’t regret the money I spent.
‘I moved to a farm at the end of last year and Cindy and Eddy were awestruck at the size of the grounds.
‘They were crashed out on the sun loungers within a day or two of arriving and they love the food and going on long walks.’