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new life Abandoned terrier who touched nation's heart finds home with William (88)


Bill Finlay from Prosperous, who adopted Skykes

Bill Finlay from Prosperous, who adopted Skykes

Bill Finlay from Prosperous, who adopted Skykes

Abandoned dog Beans is enjoying a furry happy Christmas after being adopted by a big-hearted OAP.

The scruffy terrier hit headlines after he was dumped outside the Dog's Trust in Dublin in October.


Little Beans, now re-named Sykes, was left tied to the railings

Little Beans, now re-named Sykes, was left tied to the railings

Little Beans, now re-named Sykes, was left tied to the railings

But the loveable pooch got a fairy-tail ending after being rescued by widowed William Finlay last month.

"I've renamed him Sykes after the dog in Midsomer Murders," tells the 88 year-old from Kildare.

"I got him on 20 November - within less than a week he had the house taken over.

"I can tell by looking at his face that he's a happy dog - he's just full of life."

Pensioner William lost his beloved wife Bridie when she suffered a stroke following surgery in 2018.

And the grieving widow was dealt a further blow when the couple's pet dog, Jack, died two months ago.

"Bridie was also very active," says keen walker William.

"She went in for a minor operation and suffered a bit of a stroke.

"She recovered a bit and then she went downhill and got pneumonia.

"We never had any children so when she died it was just me and our German Shepherd left in the house.

"He came in one day and his legs just stopped working," he recalls. "He fell down and couldn't get up.

"Had it [been] something that happened gradually I could have managed it.

"In fact, one of our previous German Shepherds ended up on wheels.

"He was put to sleep in my arms, wagging his tail, in October - which broke my heart.

"But that's the price you pay for the unconditional love of a dog."

Devastated William decided to get another four-legged friend to keep him company during lockdown.

And he revealed how fate brought bouncy Sykes - who was discovered tethered to the railings of the Finglas rescue centre by a member of staff - into his life.

"I did apply for a dog online but it wasn't available," explains William.

"Then they let me know of this dog who had been tied up outside the centre.

"At my age, I thought I better get something a little more manageable.

"The description of Sykes was he's a very intelligent little terrier.

"I thought, 'I do want something with a little bit of sparkle in him'.

"So I went up to see the dog and walk him around.

"He was well fed and very lively," adds William. "I would imagine he was with a lady and then she died.

"And somebody, rather than take him to the pound, just tied him up outside [the Dog's Trust].

"I think when you get a dog you've got to take on the bloody responsibility.

"They said to me, 'Do you want to take him home for a trial period?'

"I said, 'No, I'll have him now, thank you very much!'

"I didn't have any reservations whatsoever."

Lifelong dog lover William joked that the pooch definitely lives up to the temporary name given to him by the charity because he was "full of beans".

Moreover, the octogenarian said the four year-old cutie has been a lifeline since a third lockdown began.

"Although I'm quite healthy and active, I do like having a dog," admits William, who spent Christmas Day with support bubble sister Rose in Dublin.

"They are great company - particularly since I can't go and have a few pints.

"I go for a walk every morning and, until this silly Covid-19 lockdown, I used to go swimming.

"Apart from being a friendly little dog, it became very apparent that Sykes was a bloody guard dog.

"If I'm out walking with him, and a couple of people are coming towards me, particularly if they're tall men, he starts, 'Grrrr'" he mimics.

"When I was stopped by the Gardai at this Covid checkpoint, he even started growling at the policeman.

"He is definitely a big dog in a little dog's body!"

Now William is looking forward to ringing in the New Year with his new best pal at home - after laying down a few ground rules.

"The only problem I had was that he was obviously used to getting his own way," he laughs.

"You know, you feel sorry for him and you say, 'Well, I'll put him on the end of the bed'.

"But that wasn't good enough - he had to gradually move up the side of my body and curl up by my head.

"I thought, 'This has got to stop', so we've come to a mutual agreement that he stays in his bed overnight - and in the morning when he wakes up he hops into mine!"

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