‘He was our whole world’ - South Shields pet owners honour dog adopted through Shields Gazette with fundraiser to help other hounds

The owners of a Border Collie cross, who they adopted 11 years ago after seeing his picture in the Gazette, are celebrating his life by raising money for disabled dogs.

By Sarah Sinclair
Wednesday, 14 August, 2019, 16:45
Rebecca Dixon-Fawcett (right) with wife Rachael and Toby

Toby was rescued by West Hall Boarding Kennels in Cleadon, after being found in the street, covered in paint, believed to have been targeted by a group of youths.

His story appeared in the newspaper on July 12 of that year and after reading it, Rebecca Dixon-Fawcett, 33, went straight to the kennels to collect him.

Toby was doted on by Rebecca and her wife, Rachael, 28, at their home in Whiteleas, South Shields, until he passed away on July 27, 2019 at the age of 18.

Rebecca (right) and Rachael Dixon-Fawcett

Four years ago Toby started to go blind and deaf, and was eventually diagnosed with vestibular syndrome, a condition which causes fits and has similar symptoms to suffering a stroke. But despite his challenges, he lived a happy life, the couple have said.

“I saw his picture and I just knew I had to have him,” explained Rebecca. “It was the best thing we ever did. If it wasn’t for the Shields Gazette we wouldn’t have found him.”

She added: “He was such a pleasure to have, he was never naughty, he was just a joy.

“We can’t imagine how our lives are going to be without him, it hasn’t sunk in that we haven’t got him anymore.”

Toby the Border Collie cross

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To pay tribute to Toby’s life, Rebecca and Rachael are hoping to raise £500 for animal charity, Broken Biscuits, which supports disabled dogs who have been abandoned by their owners.

They have set up a Just Giving page in Toby’s name and are holding a car boot sale and raffle at Souter Lighthouse on Sunday, August 25, with all profits going to the charity.

“He was our whole world,” said Rebecca. “We needed to do something to remember him, we couldn’t just let him go.”

They also hope to encouraging other prospective pet-owners to consider adopting.

Toby, the Border Collie cross

She added: “People might prefer to get a puppy, but if anything older or disabled dogs are more loving, more special and deserve another chance.”

A clipping of the original news story in the Shields Gazette, July 12, 2008
Toby, the Border Collie cross