Annabel the one-eyed dog rescued from Chinese meat trade helps owner in lockdown
Mary Garland, 50, takes immunosuppressant medication, which means she is in the particularly high-risk category when it comes to coronavirus.
She needs to be ‘shielded’ and she can’t leave the house at all for 12 weeks.
Mary, who lives in Maida Vale, North London, is a disabled wheelchair user but usually she has a busy social life, seeing friends and supporting the charity No to Dog Meat.
But throughout the lockdown, she will have her amazing dog Annabel through her side.
Annabel the chow was rescued by the charity in China. She was found in a terrible state – partially skinned and had an eye missing.
But thanks to Mary’s love and care, Annabel can lead a normal happy life and she is keen to repay Mary and care for her during lockdown, barely leaving her side at home.
Mary said: ‘It has been hard not being able to go to charity events, see friends or take out the dogs, but Annabel is a great company.
‘She is so calm and helps calm anxiety at this stressful time, I am a qualified psychotherapist so I understand how to manage anxiety, but it is very hard sometimes even with those skills, and Annabel has been a godsend.
‘She has been through so much in her own life, and now she is helping me through this challenging time, she comes and cuddles me all the time and touching her soft fur is really comforting in my wobbly moments.’
No To Dog Meat is a UK based charity set up by animal rights advocate Julia de Cadenet, which supports Chinese dog shelters in rescuing dogs from meat markets and slaughterhouses in the country.
Some of the dogs are then brought to the UK to be rehomed.
The charity has struggled during the crisis to get food to dogs in need and with false rumours spreading that pets help to spread the virus, some of the rescue dogs have had to be taken into hiding, and others have been unable to travel to their new homes.
Mary said: ‘I could not believe when I first met Annabel how trusting she was.
‘But then all the dogs that Julia has rescued and brought to the UK are happy souls – they know when they are safe.
‘I support animal rescue centres in this country too, but the dog meat trade is just awful, and people in China think so too, so No To Dog Meat helps them to make a change in their own country which I think is the right way to do it.
‘No To Dog Meat does such an amazing job with so little resources, and I am just praying that dogs in our shelters in China survive and can go to more loving homes as Annabel has.’
During isolation, Mary is planning for the future as she wants Annabel to continue to be an ambassador for the charity.
The pair recently attended Crufts where Annabel with the charity and wowed the crowds.
She said: ‘Annabel is such a loving girl with her own disability so we are in it together.
‘She is giving so much love and joy keeps me going when I can not see family and friends.
‘All disabled dogs deserve a chance and all pets who are rescued make a wonderful companion.
‘I can’t wait until things pass and we can attend events again, and Annabel is the best ambassador no to dog meat can have and I am grateful to play my part, dogs really do save lives.’
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