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Stranded bulldogs finally reach new homes

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A group of French bulldog puppies have arrived in their new homes in Bermuda after they were stranded in England for three months because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Owner Michelle Hayes said she was delighted to have her puppy, now named Blu, at last after the dogs underwent a marathon journey from Britain by road to Germany, a flight to the United States and then on to Bermuda.

She added: “We have been waiting the longest.”

Ms Hayes said the puppies were expected to fly out months ago. But she added: “Then the flights got cancelled due to Covid-19.

“We were worried because Frenchies can only fly during the cooler months. We thought we might have to wait until September.”

Ms Hayes ordered her puppy in March, through PuppyLove BDA in Leicester, England.

The company, owned by Angel Burgess, a Bermudian who lives in England, finds and exports puppies to buyers in Bermuda.

Ms Hayes praised Ms Burgess for her assistance during the long wait.

The seven puppies, all about six months old, touched down in Bermuda two weeks ago.

The Royal Gazette met Ms Hayes and several other new owners at the Botanical Gardens on Saturday.

The proud owners have become friends through a WhatsApp group.

Ms Burgess said that, after she had the puppies in her house for so long, she missed them.

She started off looking after two dogs in March, but by mid-April she had 11 waiting to go to Bermuda, including a Yorkshire terrier, a golden retriever, a Rottweiler and eight French bulldogs.

The French bulldogs were from several different litters.

Ms Burgess admitted: “It was crazy. In the beginning, I really tried not to panic but think positive.”

She added that, with so many puppies still in the rudimentary stages of house training, she and her two daughters were on constant clean-up duty.

Ms Burgess said: “At first it was stressful because March was cold. We didn't want to let them go outside. Then as it got warmer, it got easier because we could let them out for two or three hours.”

She has dogs with her for less than a week in normal times before they were flown to Bermuda. Covid-19 and the ban on flights was worse than she could have imagined.

Mr Burgess said: “I keep hoping to wake up and find it's all over.”

She admitted she even considered hiring a private jet to fly the pups to the island — but found it was not a realistic option.

Ms Burgess did manage to send three of the dogs on a charter flight in April, but was left with the French bulldogs.

Fetchapet, a British company that specialises in shipping animals to Bermuda, stepped in to help.

Ms Burgess said: “Fetchapet had one puppy to get to Bermuda. We were back and forth for two months and nothing was going to work.

“Then one day Rachel Davis called me from Fetchapet. She said ‘lets drive the dogs to Germany and put them on the flight to New York. Flights are up and running but the animal hub isn't open'.

“They usually go from London to Germany and then Germany to New York.”

It took them a little while to get permission from all the relevant authorities to fly the dogs, but in the end they got it.

“Fetchapet came to my house, picked up the pups and drove the dogs to Germany.

“But, at the last minute, one of the French bulldogs couldn't go because it had an ear infection.”

The owners came together to meet their new pets for the first time last week.

Puppy love: Laurisa and Laurida Souza, left; Michelle and Hunter Hayes; and Nea Fowle with their new pets (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
New puppy owners: Mark Bourne, back left, Michelle Hayes and Nea Fowle. Front from left: Hunter Hayes, Laurisa and Laurida Souza, and Kamden White (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)
Hunter Hayes with his new puppy, Blu (Photograph by Jessie Moniz Hardy)

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Published June 24, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated June 24, 2020 at 7:38 am)

Stranded bulldogs finally reach new homes

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