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Litter-mates end up on different sides of the world

Flagstaff Team

Shaggy-dog story… Visiting UK vet Craig Lewis (left) got a big surprise when his first New Zealand patient, Bertie, turned up at Devonport’s Shore Vets with owner Wendy Dyer.

When visiting UK veterinarian Craig Lewis turned up to his first day back at Devonport’s Shore vets after two weeks in managed isolation, his first local patient had a familiar look.

Wendy Dyer’s border terrier Bertie, brought in with a mild skin allergy, turned out to be the brother of Lewis’ s own dog Beryl, who is back in the UK.

“It was such a coincidence. Straightaway I could tell they were related by the face and the temperament, because Bertie is very friendly, just like Beryl,” Lewis says. “They are both very engaging dogs.”

He asked Dyer for Bertie’s age, then his birth-date and where she got him from. “And then ‘bam!’ We knew.”

Lewis and Dyer bought their border terriers from the same breeder in Whangarei. Beryl and Bertie were two of a litter of five born six years ago on 28 December. The last time the dogs were together, they were only eight weeks old.

Lewis, who has been a vet since 1994, has made annual visits to New Zealand for work.

He took Beryl back to Nottingham with him in 2016, and she is these days living with his parents in Wales. Lewis and Beryl have done many walks around Britain together, covering nearly 3000km over three years.

Big walkies… Beryl and Craig Lewis have covered nearly 3000km in the British countryside over just three years

Bertie, meanwhile, has been living in Bayswater with Dyer, who recalls picking him from photographs of the litter online. “I saw Bertie and I thought I quite liked the look of that one,” she says.

The last border terrier she owned lived for 151⁄2 years. “There is so much to love about border terriers,” she says.

Lewis says most vets recommend the breed, which is the fifth most popular in the UK. He has had them for the last 25 years and used to breed them.

“These border terriers may be small but they are very tough dogs. Veterinary wise, they don’t tend to have many issues and when they are raised correctly they are very sociable and loyal dogs.” Dyer clearly agrees. “Bertie never leaves my side,” she says.

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