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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Couple spend £2,000 flying stray dog to Britain after falling in love with her on Caribbean holiday

By Emily Allen

A dog's life: Lorraine Booth, 36, with her dog Weber who she paid £2,000 to have flown back to her home in Bristol

When they met on a Caribbean beach it was love at first sight - and when the holiday was over, nothing was going to keep them apart.

And finally Weber the black Labrador cross has been reunited with her loving new owners, 4,000 miles from his old home.

Paul Booth, 43, and wife Lorraine, 36, rescued the dog after spotting her wandering across a beach in Antigua as it hunted for scraps.

They decided to adopt the malnourished animal and give her a permanent home back in Britain.

Now after paying £2,000 and waiting for vet checks to be completed and the six-month quarantine period to be over, the couple have been reunited with their dog.

She bounded into their arms after stepping off a long-haul flight from the Caribbean island to Gatwick Airport last week.

Mrs Booth said: 'It feels great to finally have her here. She looks exactly the same as before, but is now super-healthy.

'We fell in love with her after she started following us around. In the end we just could not leave her there.

'I think it is fate that led us to her and now she is settling in so well here.'

The couple, from Cotham, Bristol, headed to Antigua's idyllic Cocobay resort for a two-week holiday in January this year.

Love at first sight: Lorraine Booth when she met the malnourished dog on holiday in Antigua in January this year

They were living in a hut on a stretch of the island's scenic beach when they first noticed the black dog wandering the sands.

Mrs Booth, who owns retro sweet shop Fizzy Lips in Bristol's Broadmead shopping centre with her husband, said: 'We were in a resort where we had a hut on the beach.

'My husband went running on the beach in the morning, near an unpopulated wasteland, and this little dog came out and ran over to him.

'He stopped and rubbed its nose and patted it, and she was all patchy and malnourished, and she had mange.

'But she followed him up the beach and ran with him and when he got back to the hut he said to me, 'you have got to come and see this dog'.'

The couple befriended the her and she began follow them around and they in turn would feed her.

Woman's best friend: The couple waited for 10 months while the pet was in quarantine and had all the relevent vet checks before flying to England

Mrs Booth said: 'We were there two weeks and we went to see her every day.

'She would come to see us and sit outside our hut to wait for us, and she had such a lovely personality.

'She was so thin and slept on the beach with no food, water or companions, either canine or human. It was very sad.

'How she got there no one will ever know, but she was not likely to survive for long.
'Despite, this she seemed so delighted to have any attention.

'The problem in Antigua with stray dogs is very bad, and the few people over there who are trying to educate people, rescue and re-home dogs are fighting an uphill battle.'

After two-weeks of bonding, the pair got in contact with the Antigua and Barbuda Humane Society and persuaded owner Karen Corbin to take the dog in.

They left money for her to be looked after when they returned home.

But when they got back to Bristol they realised they wanted the dog to be with them permanently.

Mrs Booth said: 'I just couldn't bear to go home and not find out what happened to her.

'It seemed so sad that she would probably end up getting hit by a car or just dying of starvation.

'We had two other dogs and when we got back from holiday we found out our black labrador Merlin had a cancerous tumour and later died.'

After persuading Ms Corbin to let them apply to bring Weber home, the young dog was put in quarantine at the Humane Society in Antigua for six months.

The Booths also paid hundreds of pounds for her to be cleaned up and given its rabies jabs. Her flight to Gatwick cost £1,000.

Weber has now settled in to her home in the city and is already best friends with the Booths' other dog - six-year-old Labrador Cosmo.

Mrs Booth said: 'She was a bit timid to start with but now is just racing around everywhere.

'We take her up to the park and she absolutely loves it. She always comes back to me too.

'We could not be happier.'



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