Felixstowe: Snooky’s 6,000-mile rescue to a new life

Elise Dixie of Felixstowe with Snooky the dog who she befriended while on mission in Cambodia

Elise Dixie of Felixstowe with Snooky the dog who she befriended while on mission in Cambodia - Credit: Archant

Animal lover Elise Dixie saved a puppy from almost certain death – and then flew him home from the other side of the world.

Snooky on the day that Elise Dixie found him on the beach in Cambodia.

Snooky on the day that Elise Dixie found him on the beach in Cambodia. - Credit: Archant

Twenty-six-year-old Miss Dixie could not bear to think of the dog she befriended never having a loving family home and decided to bring him 6,000 miles back from Cambodia to her home in Felixstowe.

Her mum volunteered to sell some of her jewellery to help raise the £3,000 cost as the family pulled together to find the cash to bring the pup named Snooky on a 17-hour trip across the globe to a new life at the seaside.

Miss Dixie, was travelling in south-east Asia, and also doing voluntary work with the Hope charity at a school between September and December last year, when she spotted the puppy as she went out on a fishing trip.

Later when they returned to cook the fish they caught at a beach barbecue the dog suddenly appeared again.

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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.

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“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.”

The two-month-old mongrel was one of many on the streets just roaming around.

Miss Dixie, a teacher at Beacon Hill special needs school in Ipswich, said: “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 looked after the puppy for the rest of her stay but as the time neared to return to England, she became increasingly frantic trying to find a charity or rescue centre – few and far between in a country without pets – to take him.

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

Miss Dixie, who lives in Westmorland Road, Felixstowe, with her parents Gererd, who trains teachers, and Sue, a teacher, and also has a sister Francesca, 30, 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.”

Watching Snooky’s progress on the internet did not make life any easier.

She said: “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.”

After raising the £3,000 between themselves, Miss Dixie flew out to Cambodia to bring him home.

She 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.”

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