Otterton couple talk to the dogs saved from abroad

Kind-hearted Otterton couple learn new languages after re-homing two stray dogs from abroad

A kind-hearted Otterton couple have been learning new languages after re-homing two stray dogs from abroad.

Teresa Graham, 59 and her husband John, 56, of Bell Street, adopted crossbreeds Sage, from Bahrain, and Barney from Greece.

The couple were helped by a generous benefactor animal-lover friend who financed the double rescue from his own pocket.

Thanks to his generosity, the two dogs have escaped their lives living in rescue centres where they both faced uncertain futures.

John has been swotting up on the dogs’ mother tongue in a bid to make their pets feel more at home.

Teresa said: “I couldn’t have wished for two better dogs really. You could say there are enough dogs to rescue in this country but dogs like these don’t have a chance.”

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The couple first learned of Sage’s plight from John’s sister, Joyce, a volunteer at the Bahrain Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (BSPCA) in Bahrain.

Believed to be living wild, emaciated and nursing eight puppies – none which survived – the rescue centre was keen to find Sage a loving home.

Knowing the pair was looking for a dog, Joyce had been approached by a mutual friend who offered to fund Sage’s boarding in Bahrain and flight back to the UK – believed to cost thousands of pounds - if they agreed to take her.

Visiting Joyce, they met Sage and instantly fell in love with her.

Once the red tape was sorted out and the dog fit to travel, Teresa and John picked her up from Heathrow Animal Reception Centre.

Teresa said: “We said her name and she came over to us. She was so gentle and very timid and shook all the way home to Devon.

“When we got her into the house, because she didn’t know what a house was, she went into the kitchen and didn’t come out. She kept peering around the door.

“The only thing she wasn’t scared of was a Tesco bag. She obviously had rummaged around in a bag for food.

“Whatever she’s suffered, she’s such a kind and gentle dog. She’s just adorable. We have never had a dog like her.”

Barney was rescued a year later after municipal workers in Athens found him covered in weal marks, where he had been whipped, and took him to a nearby rescue centre.

The same benefactor stepped forward again, sending photos of the dog to Teresa and John, arranging for him to be flown to the UK and delivered straight to his new home.

Teresa said: “He’d been badly treated. We chose him from others because he had a look on his face and his paws were crossed.

“He’s never lost his faith in humans. He loves them. Sage is very much the same.”

*Learn more about the work of the BSPCA at