In loving memory of Alpha Of Xilver Highland
This is the story written by his wonderfull owners Natasja and Dave
straight away caught our eye… From the very first visit at Ilse’s place he
stole our hearts. I will always remember my keyhanger having a small sheep on
it, he would grab it and run through the garden with it, followed by all his
brothers and sisters, who were trying to get in on the fun.
we could finally take him home, I really bonded with Alpha. He spent the long
drive home on my lap, just
constantly looking at the pair of us.
was a brilliant pup, and spent the first 6 months of his life behind the
reception desk of our hotel, where he was loved and adored by all collegues and
became more than our pet, he was part of the family. Our day of was always
planned around Alpha. He was extremly funny, caring and always so very adjusting
to any situation.
could take him absolutely everywhere, he would be mad as a nutter on the beach,
but just enjoy the scenery when we sat down for a coffee afterwards.
such a wonderful dog made other people also enjoying his company. Two friends of
ours very much enjoyed taking Alpha on their pleasure walks in the weekends.
A lot of dog owners take part in these organised walks, and it was just a delight to see the enjoyment of our friends when they came home from a walk. They were so proud of him….
Sunday I was too busy to take Alpha out, so I counted on our friends again to
take him on his daily walk. Jacques and Alpha did the walk they had done so many
‘Tweebergenpad” in Westouter – Heuvelland is a very nice 7 km walk with
quite a few hilly climbs. It was a beautifull day and he must have enjoyed it so
much, because he was covered in mud. Alpha always loved water. Any pond or lake
he would jump in it.
he’d come across a puddle, he would for sure go and lie in it.
was towards the end of the walk… Alpha was back on the lead already and he was
sniffing away along the side of the road. He always eats everything he passes.
It’s not surprising that Jacques didn’t even notice the piece of fish he
must have quickly swallowed while he past it.
was another 10 minute walk to the car, and Alpha was happily jumping up trying
to catch the lead, as he always did.
they got to the car Jacques took his drink out the boot, prepared it for Alpha.
only drank a few seconds… Suddenly he fell through his legs and started
was very sick and couldn’t get up anymore. Jacques responded immediately,
picked Alpha up and rushed home. We went to the vet straight away, but it was
amount of poison Alpha eat, was too much to make any chance…
if the vet would have been with him, there was nothing we could do.
died within a few minutes.
went back that night. It was very important to find the poison to be able to
analyse what it was. It was Temik, which is used in farming as an insecticide.
Highly deadly in uncontrolled amounts. The amount that was put in the pieces of
smoked fish we indeed found, was enough to kill 5 human beings.
started knocking on people’s doors, asking them if they knew anything more…
were shocked. The very same day another labrador was killed in the same street.
found the lady the same evening only to learn that Frodo, her black 9 month old
labrador died the same way… Only she fought 1 hour for her life. The vet said
she had a very strong heart.
went to the police to report the case, but they were not really interested. We
really had to persuade them to make a report. They didn’t want to analyze the
poison, as that is something the state does not want to pay for. So we decided
to have it analyzed ourselves.
next day we said goodbye to Alpha. I promised him that I wouldn’t give up
untill I found the person that did this to him.
we did… We made up a flyer which was spread over the whole area where he was
spread it to 6635 adresses. It was put in newspapers, it was reported on the
local t.v. and radio. The reactions were massive.
the telephone number as well as the post box we opened.
people telling us how sorry they were, but also many people telling us that the
same thing happened to them. Over 30 dogs have been poisoned in that village 4
period, March – April. The locals were telling us that the hunters attempt to
poison foxes, so that they have enough game for the next hunting season.
few names were mentioned as well, 1 name kept coming back…
cannot descripe the anger inside me. How can this problem have been going on for
so many years without anybody even attempting to stop it ????
can anybody put extremely lethal poison along the side of a public foot path and
sleep at night ?????
Wednesday after Alpha died, my phone went at about 21.00. It was Sanne.
was in a panic. That night she took both her Golden Retrievers to the same
walking path in Westouter. Kyra, a 3 year old bitch must have also eaten poison.
started shaking, fell down and was sick. Sanne didn’t know what happened and
she (luckily) immediately phoned her friend in the village. Having seen the
flyer, the friend immediately knew what it was, jumped in the car, picked her
friend and both dogs and drove to the vet. They warned him over the phone, that
it was likely to be a Temik poisoning and the vet kept the anti-poison ready. It
looked like Kyra was saved.
spent the night with her, to make sure she wouldn’t get a new attack, but
she’s alright now. When she phoned me the next day to thank me for saving her
dog, it did something to me. It will never bring my Alpha back, but it felt so
good to have saved Kyra.
went back to the spot the same day. I wanted to find the sick of Kyra. I did,
and was shocked to see that it was exactly the same, the posion was inside a
piece of smoked fish.
fish was fresh. I couldn’t believe that this guy was still doing the same
thing despite the articles in the newspapers, tv and radio !
must be a very sick person in the head.
3 weeks now since Alpha died and the pain did not get any better.
never will, untill the person has been convicted. I have a very important
meeting tomorrow with the local game keeper (boswachter) and environmental
organisations. (Natuurfonds Westland). They all have been trying to stop this
man, but never found a victim who was prepared to fight him and to take this to
will. Together with the help of Gaia and a lawyer they recommend we will try and
fight this. It’s too late for tens and tens of dogs, but I want to know that
it is save for me and other people to walk my new dogs.
I promised Alpha…
I hope it will help me to be able to accept his death.
Natasja & Dave
If anybody could help us in the investigation of illegal poisoning,
please let us know on 0032 477 27 41 40 or write to Alpha, Postbus 33, 8900 Ieper