By Richard Beale ….

Very sad to report that the Stadium Dog (Esentepe) number 4, known as “Bouncer” (or Hakem his other name) was put to sleep on Saturday morning (16th June) after contracting Distemper.

You may remember the story of the Stadium Dog about 4-6 weeks ago as we made an appeal jointly in the Cyprusscene E.newspaper and on Facebook, asking if anybody could provide a home for him. Although there was a lot of interest, sympathy and concern, we unfortunately let Bouncer down as we were unable to provide any accommodation for him.

Bouncer was a beautiful friendly Labrador puppy around 9-12 months old with a great temperament, and was dumped at the Esentepe Football Stadium around 3-4 months ago.

Bouncer was number 4 dog, the previous three dogs before him were lucky enough to find homes, Bouncer was not so lucky.

We think he used to sleep in the Referee’s changing room (Referee in Turkish is Hakem) so hence his other name.

As he was always at the Stadium, people started noticing him and he was fed the odd tit bit by people going to Football or by some of the Belediyesi staff, he was totally dependant on hand outs.

With the help of Rob Astley (who is doing stirling work in the area for unwanted dogs and strays) and another dog owner Karen, who walks her dogs near the Stadium, we managed to put in place a rota that ensured he was fed and watered morning, afternoon and evening.

Myself and my wife (another Karen, confusing yes) were on the early shift and every morning around 6.00-6.30 am) we walked our dogs Roxy and Paddy to the Stadium. With the sun just coming up, we either saw Bouncer on the pitch (don’t think the Groundsman would have liked that) or on the mounds of soil outside the entrance.

On seeing us he would bounce over so excited to see us and our two dogs. Being older dogs our two would play with him for around 10 minutes and that was enough for them they “threw the towel in” as Bouncer had so much energy.

BOUNCER in happier days

It was the same with Karen and her two dogs, and Rob when he arrived on his motorbike, he was so pleased to see you, yes he wanted food but he also wanted company.

Alas we were unable to find him a home but gladly continued with our rota and Bouncer was growing into a fine handsome young boy. We were even discussing that Bouncer would soon have to be “chopped’, lucky for him he remained intact and hopefully he is enjoying himself in doggie heaven.

We noticed one morning last week that Bouncer was not his normal self, he was lethargic with no energy and wasn’t really interested in his food, which normally was devoured in seconds, although he drank copious amounts of water.

We thought maybe it was the humid and hot conditions, or maybe he had eaten some rancid meat or something.

He wasn’t looking well the following morning so we decided if he wasn’t any better the next day we would take him to the vets. Next morning and the following morning he wasn’t around, we all went up at various times during the day to look for him and were getting increasingly worried and concerned.

Last Saturday morning we got a call from Karen to say that he was at her house but was very ill.

We managed to get him to the vets, where unfortunately he was diagnosed with Distemper and the disease was too far gone for the Vet to save him.

Bouncer spent a lot of time on his own, but at least my wife Karen was with him to hold his paw, when he embarked on his final journey.

Now over a week on the wounds are still very raw, we cannot bring ourselves to even go up to the Stadium. In time of course we will, I need to, to watch the Football!

Now as I write this we are racked with guilt, would it have been such a hardship for us to provide him with some temporary foster accommodation? Should we have got him inoculated?. It’s too late now – RIP Bouncer you will be missed and I am so sorry that we couldn’t do more for you. Hope you find many friends in Canine heaven

Thanks to Sibel and all at Pet Cross for their help and compassion shown to Bouncer even though he was a street dog. Also to Rob and Karen who without them Bouncer would have had an even shorter life.

WARNING TO ALL DOG OWNERS : Bouncer died from Distemper this cruel disease has gotten a hold in Cyprus, remember KAR had to shut down completely for a while before it was eradicated. It is an airborne disease, which has an incubation period of 48 hours. The dog becomes listless, loses its appetite, and sometimes cannot keep their eyes open, is very thirsty and develops a cough. Be warned make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, if a dog gets Distemper then there is very little hope for them.