Mum-of-two who can’t stop saving stray dogs reveals she has 15 pups so far – and says there are more to come
- Bernie, 49, and her two kids, have saved cats, dogs and ‘one little bird’
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A woman who turned her home into a real life Noah’s Ark by saving stray animals has said she’s still on the hunt for more.
Mother-of-two, Bernie Watkin, who’s family is currently based in Granada, Spain, has saved a staggering 15 stray dogs so far, as well as cats and one little bird.
The 49-year-old lives with her two equally animal-loving children, son Caden, 13, and daughter, Frankie, 10, who take in pups and let them stay on the sofa.
And now, they’ve created a real life Noah’s Ark – with ‘twice as many animals as humans’ in their hectic household.
‘We’ve saved 15 dogs but there’s always room for one more’ says Bernie.
Mum-of-two, Bernie Watkins, who’s family is currently based in Spain, has turned her home into a real life Noah’s Ark by saving stray animals from the streets (Pictured: Mum Bernie Watkins and her animal-loving children, Caden (right), 13, and Frankie (left), 10
Bernie and her family have saved a staggering 15 stray dogs so far, as well as cats and one little bird
The family often return missing pets to their original homes, including one stray pup they saw in the middle of the road (Pictured: Caden with a stray pup)
She explained: ‘The strays we take in have got the best of all worlds. They come in, lie on the sofa and then go out, but you can’t stop that.
‘That’s the unfortunate side, but the great part is the mountain walk I take them on every day.
‘I go up into the mountains and I take them for mountain strolls and that’s where the big dogs run around. It’s beautiful’.
The selfless mum recounts the many times her family has ‘picked up dogs from the side of the road and re-homed them’.
She also tells of the distressing moment the family-of-three witnessed a stray dog in the middle of the road, but with their help it was soon on its way to a Christmas miracle.
She revealed: ‘We were scared he was going to get ran over’.
‘But I advertised on social media to see if he had a home and it turns out his name was “Lucky” who had been missing for seven months.
‘He was reunited with his owners on Christmas Eve and it was a miracle.”
The 49-year-old says the family’s system works most smoothly when all hands are on deck when a new animal arrives
Bernie says some animals are easier to care for than others, as some hail from abusive and neglectful backgrounds (Pictured: Frankie with one of the rescues)
Despite coming across an astounding number of stray animals, the mum chooses not to stock her cupboards with supplies.
Bernie insisted preparation is futile as the animals ‘just sort of turn up’.
She added that the family’s system works most smoothly when all hands are on deck when a new animal arrives.
She explained: ‘They’re just there, they just sort of turn up. It’s like with the kittens, we weren’t going to have cats because of the dogs, but then they just turned up.
‘My son found these three-week-old kittens and they were going to fall off a ledge and then he just brought them back and that was it, they’ve been with us since’.
The Watkins family have rescued a myriad of vulnerable animals as well as cats and one little bird
The superhero mum said some animals are easier to care for than others, as some hail from abusive and neglectful backgrounds, making their responsibilities a little harder.
One such animal is their first rescue and household pet, Harry, who remains wary of strangers.
Bernie said: ‘Harry, our big dog that we’ve got now, is a bit of a problem dog because he’s big and so they treated him poorly on the street.
‘As he started walking past our house, he was so skinny, so we started putting food out.
‘It was two weeks before he’d come near us. He’d eat, and he’d sleep outside the door, but that was it.
‘Then he started walking with us, and other dogs, but he is very nervous with people, so we’ve got to be careful.
‘I have to muzzle him to go out because of what happened to him prior, where people were shooing him away with sticks and trying to kick him.
The town hero’s work isn’t always praised by locals, as sometimes people shun the dogs out of fear.
In turn, the dogs find it difficult to ‘trust many humans’, especially outside of the house.
She goes on to tell of the traumatising experience their little dog Ruby faced when it was kept on a rope.
The pups are made welcome and treated like family. Pictured: one pup casually lounging on the sofa
She said: ‘Her former owners just kept her on a rope and now she’ll still poop in the house every now and again and things like that, but it’s fine. The dogs are so grateful to have been saved’.
It’s not only the animals who show their appreciation for a better life, Bernie has noticed a positive change within herself since setting out on the mission.
She added: ‘They just make you realise they share their home with you, and we’re grateful to have them because every day you know they’re so, so happy.
‘I rescued them but they’ve rescued me in a way – they are like my little saviours.
‘They show so much love and affection and they put their trust in me, which gives me peace. It gives me calmness and so much joy.
‘They give me a sense of purpose and I feel totally honoured that they would put their trust in me after what has happened to them’.
Despite ‘expecting’ to keep the animals they help, Bernie explained that the strays mostly leave the family behind after being rejuvenated.
Still some loyal dogs have made their house a permanent home.
‘But it seems to me that when one animal goes, another one sort of chops in’, said Bernie.
‘They’re just beautiful little souls. They’ve been treated appallingly, but they are kind, loving, and forgiving’.
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