A HOLIDAYMAKER who was barking mad about the plight of stray dogs in Greece has spent her life savings to fly home TWO as pets.
And Vickki Bradfield-Mullenger insists it has been worth every penny to give father and son Murphy and BeaBea a life of luxury in her Bradwell Village home.
Last weekend she drove across Europe to reunite big black Murphy with puppy BeaBea, the last stage in a saga has spanned almost two years and which has cost her £1,400.
The story began when Vickki went on holiday to Crete with her boyfriend in September 2009.
“I’m one of those tourists who feed stray animals wherever I go. This time there was a pack of 15 dogs at the hotel, all desperate for food and even more desperate for affection,” she said.
Particularly affectionate was skinny puppy BeaBea, rejected by his mum and following around a dog that was clearly his father.
“BeaBea would come and sit on my balcony and all he wanted was cuddles. He was just so desperate for love,” said Vickki.
The crunch came when a fellow tourist showed her a newspaper article describing how stray dogs were rounded up and killed by the Greek authorities at the end of the holiday season.
“Some were shot, others hanged and some had acid over them. It was too cruel for words,” she said.
Vickki, who works for Argos, spent the rest of her holiday frantically negotiating with the Cretan Animal Protection charity to bring BeaBea home to England.
With their help, she arranged rabies tests and found a volunteer to foster BeaBea for six months to comply with quarantine regulations.
Last year she was finally able to bring the puppy home and within hours he had settled to become a “complete angel”.
But, says, Vickki, there was still something missing. Thoughts of Murphy being killed still plagued her. And again, a newspaper cutting spurred her into action.
“I’m friends with other animal rescuers and one showed me a letter in a Greek newspaper together with a photo of a dog, stating the dog was a pest and it was going to be shot.
“I recognised the dog immediately. ‘That’s Murphy!’ I said. And I knew I had to save him.”
Vickki’s friends from the charity vowed to help, picking up Murphy, finding another quarantine fosterer and then flying the dog as far as Belgium.
On Friday she set off to meet them at Brussels airport.
“I’m sure Murphy recognised me. But what was really special was when he saw BeaBea. The pair of them instantly sniffed each other and wagged their tails.”
This week the pair are romping together in the park and curling up side by side to sleep. Anyone who thinks I’m barking mad ought to see them. It’s truly amazing.”
* Vickki has appealed for help for Cretan Animal Protection, which can be found on www.cretananimalprotection.com