According to UK's Daily Express
, Garner was on holiday with her partner Barry Atkins in April when she saw the emaciated dog at their hotel. She said that after she "fell in love" with the dog and decided to rescue him, she "kept looking over the balcony and seeing him at the water’s edge, then I would go out with bits of chicken and sausage... He slept on the beach all day and a security guard said he had been there since he was a pup, so we reckon he is just under one-year old."
Garner told the Daily Express
that she spent £3,685, more than the £2, 700 she had budgeted, to have the dog she named Jean Paul taken care of, quarantined and vaccinated in Mauritius, before he was flown to Gatwick airport, London. Five months after he arrived in the UK, he is settling in to his new life at Garner's home in Hopeman, Moray, Scotland.
Garner said: “It was such a worry saying goodbye to him in April and then trusting people who I did not know at all to look after him and hoping that they would get all the requirements right to get him back to the UK. The paperwork took ages to sort out and there was a long wait at the airport to get him but in the end the barrier opened up and there he was. He still needs to put on weight and learn a few manners but I have to bear in mind that he is a wild rescued dog and will slowly learn. I might also have to get him a duffle coat – I think he will need it after Mauritius.The main thing is he is lovely to people and gets on well with our other dogs.”
Garner is aware that some people may be critical of her decision to spend so much on a dog. The Daily Express
reports she said: “I know there will be people out there saying the money could have been spent on charities. But at the end of the day it is my money and I can do what I want with it. If people want to spend their money on drink and cigarettes, flash clothes and expensive mobiles, let them, it’s their choice. If I could do it again I would, but I think I have done my bit for now.” According to the Daily Mail
, Garner added: "I am not flash with my money, but thought I should use the last of my savings to do this."
However, she said she does not wish to return to Mauritius because she finds the sight of stray dogs "heart-breaking." The Daily Mail
reports she said: "My whole holiday was spent running around trying to save this dog. I was so worried that I could not relax. If I hadn't done this then I think he would have died."
The Daily Mail
reports this is not the first time Garner has "fallen in love" with an animal in need. About 18 months ago, while on holiday in Cyprus, she spent about £2,000 ($3,200) to rescue a stray cat called Pilgrim.
According to the Daily Mail
, Protection of Animals Welfare Society (PAWS)
, a group in Mauritius, estimates there are about 200,000 stray dogs on an island with a human population of 1.3 million. PAWS
comments: "In Mauritius there are more dogs and cats than there are appropriate homes. This is a tragic global issue that animal welfare shelters all over the world like Paws struggle with day by day."