Boxer dog’s a true fighter

Patchess with owner Lorraine Whatmough.
Patchess with owner Lorraine Whatmough.
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Boxer dog Patchess proved her battling qualities when she survived the nightmare fortnight that claimed the lives of the rest of her family.

Now the plucky pup – named after Harry Patch, the longest surviving First World War soldier – has celebrated turning one year old by raising money for less fortunate four-legged friends.

Patchess was the only survivor of a litter of four puppies after their mother, Evie, died in childbirth last February.

In honour of her first birthday owner Lorraine Whatmough, of Hayson Close in Dewsbury, organised a bash at dog care centre Mypetstop, in Tingley, which raised £160 for the West Yorkshire Dog Rescue charity.

Lorraine, 65, said: “She fought to stay with us and she means everything to me. She helped us through a really difficult year.

“She has a really good life now and we wanted to do something to help dogs that aren’t as lucky.”

Patchess’s mother, who was also owned by Lorraine and her husband, Rodney, died on the vet’s operating table while she was giving birth.

Her four puppies were delivered by Caesarean section and hand-reared by the couple and members of their family and friends.

But three of them suffered from a condition called fading puppy syndrome – the result of not feeding on their mother’s milk – and died nine days later.

Patchess was the only one to survive.

“It was as if she said, ‘I’m not going anywhere,’” Lorraine said.

“She’s my only connection to Evie. There would be a huge void if we had lost her as well.”

The birthday party was attended by about 20 dogs and their owners, with games and party food for both two-legged and four-legged friends.

Guests were asked to make charity donations instead of bringing gifts.

Sheli Dobbie, Mypetstop’s centre manager, said: “Patchess has been a regular visitor to our centre since being 12 weeks of age.

“When we heard about her awful ordeal, we wanted to make her first birthday special.”

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