Teacher spends £3,000 flying dying dog from Cambodia to UK

An animal lover who befriended a stray puppy while volunteering in Cambodia raised £3,000 to have it flown back to England.

Elise Dixie, 26, flew the sick mongrel more than 6,200 miles back to the UK after she cared for it while she was away.

The 26-year-old first met the dog when it had lost most of its hair and had a distended stomach before she set off on a fishing trip.

She saw the two-month-old dog again on her return to the beach and looked after it in the hostel where she was staying between last September and December.

Miss Dixie paid for the puppy to be treated by a vet who told her that it was only two weeks from death as it was in such a poor condition.

She then arranged for the puppy, which she named Snooky, to be cared for by the Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society when she returned to Felixstowe, Suffolk.

Miss Dixie received regular updates about its progress from animal shelter staff before deciding to fly the dog back to her home.

She raised the cash with the help of her parents Gerard and Sue Dixie to fly back to pay for her to Cambodia so she could collect the puppy and bring it to the UK.

Snooky is now getting used to life at the Suffolk seaside after the 17 hour journey from Cambodia.

Miss Dixie, who works at a school in Ipswich, said: ‘I was certain he wouldn’t know who I was – but he was so happy to see me, wagging his tail.

‘I was bawling my eyeballs out. He’s a great dog and everyone loves him so much.’

Miss Dixie said the puppy was one of many strays roaming around when she first saw it.

She said: ‘He was so tiny and in an absolutely dreadful state.

‘He had this chain round his neck which was cutting into his neck, and he looked emaciated and his stomach was all distended.

‘He had severe mange and no fur – totally bald, and just kept scratching his skin.

‘We managed to get some bolt croppers and cut the chain off, and a vet later told me Snooky had been two weeks from death.

‘It’s a completely different culture over there – they don’t have dogs as pets like we do.

‘They eat dogs, and dogs that roam are likely to be attacked and killed by other dogs.

‘I just couldn’t let that happen. I took him with me back to the hostel and immediately tried to find a vet to help him.’

She said she became increasingly frantic as she tried to find a charity or rescue centre to take care of the puppy before she left.

Eventually Nicky Scales at the Phnom Penh Animal Welfare Society (PPAWS) agreed to help find him a home.

Miss Dixie said: ‘I reluctantly handed him over.

‘I know it will sound stupid to anyone who has not got a relationship with animals like my mum and I, but I don’t think I could have come home without PPAWS taking him – it was such a relief.

‘When I got home mum and I had a bawl together. I just knew I had to bring him home here.

‘People will say why that dog, why not one from the RSPCA or Blue Cross, which we also support.

‘I think it was an emotional response, and we had made such a strong bond.’