A Milton Keynes woman who lives with 27 sick and paralysed dogs from all over the world has told how she devotes her life to helping them walk again.
Clare-Louise Nixon takes in disabled rescue dogs from all over the globe and lets them lead a life of luxury in her four-bedroom Fenny Stratford semi.
Some are paralysed, some are badly injured and some have even had limbs blown off in war-torn areas such as Bosnia. Many wear nappies because they are incontinent.
But all of the pooches are given lashings of TLC and grand celebrity names, including Sir Elton John, David Bowie, Julian Clary and Lady Diana.
Clare-Louise, who is 48, raises funds through her organisation, Wheels to Paws UK, to provide them with medical treatment, rehabilitation and the equipment they need to walk again.
Often this means using specially-made harnesses with wheels to act as false legs so they can enjoy going out of walks all over Milton Keynes. Those that can't walk are wheeled in buggies.
Clare-Louise said: “The dogs arrive with the most horrible past we give them love and wonderful future. They come from all over the world but with me they are home forever.”
She does not believe in kennels and allows all the dogs to live in the house she shares with her parents, her husband Gary and their daughter Rhia-Louise.
“The dogs have a free run of the house. They sit where they want and they sleep wherever they happen to fall asleep – often on our beds,” she said.
“I'm really lucky in that all the neighbours have dogs themselves so we don't get complaints. And although 27 dogs sounds a lot, they are really quite well behaved.”
Looking after the large brood takes all her time from 6am to midnight. Feeding them alone is a mammoth chore involving 15kg of biscuits and a complete crate of dog food every single day.
“Kennelgate Pet superstore in Bletchley is amazing. They donate loads of their slightly out of date food to us and give treats to all the dogs at Christmas time,” said Claire-Louise.
Vets bills can be a huge drain on resources, but local vets are sympathetic to her cause and often offer a discount, she said.
Where possible Claire-Louise will find a new home for a dog, but often their needs are too complex and they end up staying with her.
Among her permanent brood is Freddie Mercury, a cross-breed who was hit over the head with a shovel in Romania, leaving him paralysed from the neck down. Then there is Hop Along Cassidy, who was flown in from Bosnia after he stood on a landmine and his leg was blown off.
David Bowie was another Romanian dog rescued from a life of cruelty, while Barney Rubble came from Turkey. There are three German shepherds who are all disabled including Lady Diana from Tunisia and paralysed Mateo from Spain.
“The dog rescue charities abroad all know of me. So if they get a badly injured or disabled dog in need of specialist care they will pay to transport them to me in the UK. I can never say no,” said Claire-Louise.
Eight of the dogs have to wear nappies, with little body suits to keep them in place. They all need daily baths to keen them clean and infection free.
Other dogs are regularly taken for doggy hydrotherapy, while all those that can walk are taken out for exercise in rotation, a few at a time.
“It is tremendous hard work but I can't tell you how rewarding it is. The love these dogs give back is amazing. I would not be without any single one of them.” said Claire-Louise.
She is currently saving up for a partly paralysed dog called Rita Ora to have an operation at the vets.
To make a donation or to find out more, visit Wheels to Paws UK on Facebook.