"Paddington Bear" dog, discovered tied up and abandoned with a suitcase of his belongings at Scottish train station, is given loving new home
- The Scottish SPCA rehomed nearly 6,000 rescued animals in 2016 alone
- Kai the shar-pie crossbreed was dumped by his owner, discovered tied to a railing outside Ayr train station in Scotland
- Alongside Kai was a suitcase of his belongings including toys and food, causing the story to go global as he drew likeness to Paddington Bear
- But thankfully Kai was rehomed with hydraulic engineer Ian Russell, whose own dog of 15 years had recently passed away
The story of the then two-year-old shar-pei cross Kai went global, with his story of neglect drawing parallels to that of the fictional Paddington Bear
Every year, hundreds of thousands of animals across the UK are dumped, abandoned and left for dead by owners who may have already abused or caused injury to their loving pets for months beforehand.
In 2016 alone, the Scottish SPCA charity rescued and rehomed over 5,800 animals.
On Friday 2 January 2015, an odd sighting was reported at Ayr train station in West Scotland. A young-looking shar-pie crossbreed was discovered tied up to a railing outside – accompanied by nothing but a suitcase. In this suitcase were the dog’s belongings, including a pillow, toys, a food bowl and his food.
Luckily, the dog was microchipped, and inspectors were able to find out the dog’s name: Kai. But when the registered owner was contacted, they stated they had sold the dog on Gumtree two years previously. They had no idea of the details of the person who had bought Kai off them, or how this situation of neglect had unfolded.
Abandoning an animal is a criminal offense, and those found guilty can expect a fine, a potentially lifelong ban for keeping animals, and even jail time. But while the search for Kai’s abandoner continued, the two-year-old pup was taken in and homed by the Scottish SPCA.
However, Kai’s story was about to go global.
"Many people likened him to Paddington Bear, given he was found alone at a railway station with his suitcase."
- Alan Grant
Ayr's Paddington Bear
Once in the safe hands of the SPCA’s Glasgow Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, details of Kai’s story were posted to the charity’s website as a hunt for a new home began – and messages of support came flooding in instantly.
‘We were overwhelmed by offers of new homes for Kai from places as far away as New York, Los Angeles, France, Spain and even the Philippines,’ said Scottish SPCA senior animal care assistant Alan Grant.
‘Kai's story was really sad and many people likened him to Paddington Bear given he was found alone at a railway station with his suitcase.
'But it was therefore really important for us to select an owner who wanted Kai for all the right reasons, and had really thought through their decision to take on a rescue dog,' he explains.
"Being the one to rehome Kai is a bit like winning the lottery."
- Ian Russell
One Lucky Kai
Kai was spoiled for choice. Eventually, 52-year-old Ian Russell was selected by the charity to be the provider of a new home for the shar-pei. Proving an apt match, the self-employed hydraulic engineer had not long suffered an upsetting furry loss of his own.
‘My Dalmatian named Mica passed away just before Christmas and I was left heartbroken,' explains Ian.
Kai was neglected outside of Ayr train station in Scotland alongside a suitcase of his personal belongings
'I had her for 15 years and she was the apple of my eye. When I heard about Kai I knew the little guy needed a break – I never thought in a million years I'd get him.
'It feels like fate that I've been able to rehome Kai and I'm not usually a believer in things like that,' says Ian, speaking to the Scottish SPCA online. 'I'm over the moon and very shocked that I was chosen out of everyone who wanted him. Being the one to rehome Kai is a bit like winning the lottery.'
Thankfully, it took just four weeks for Kai to be rehomed. But as highlighted by Ian himself, thousands of other animals are not always so lucky, and many spend months – even years – in rescue centres with nowhere, or no-one, to call home.
'I also want to highlight the fact there are lots of other animals like Kai whose stories haven't been told. I really hope some of the people who offered Kai a home will consider helping one of the many other rescue pets in the Scottish SPCA's care.'