Lexie Elliott, 26, first encountered cockapoo Wilf in December 2018, when he was hurled in front of her car from a passing van as she took a phone call in a layby.
That horrendous event turned out to be a blessing in disguise, and she ended up rescuing the dog – and says he later ‘saved’ her during a bad breakup.
Lexie, who runs her own PR business where she lives in Bournemouth, Dorset, said of the moment she saw Wilf: ‘It was dark and I had my headlights on.
‘This blue van pulled up alongside me on a dual carriageway, obviously noting that I was there.
‘The next thing I knew, this small fluffy thing was literally thrown out of the van in front of me.
‘I thought it was a rabbit and, on the phone to my boyfriend at the time, I said I’d call him back, got out of the car and found a little cockapoo puppy – Wilf.’
Then living in Brighton, East Sussex, with her partner, she called the police, who gave her the number for The Dogs’ Trust. The charity booked them in at a local vet’s the next day, where Wilf was checked for a microchip and aged at around 10 weeks.
When no chip was found, they took his picture, which the Trust circulated – giving any potential owner two weeks to claim him in case he had been stolen.
Lexie confessed: ‘I think four hours into having him, he was already mine. I’d fallen in love! So, when no one came forwards, I kept him.’
She says it’s the ‘weirdest’ thing to happen to her, but the fact Wilf literally landed into her life helped her make the decision to keep the pup.
But the reason for him being abandoned so callously remains a mystery to Lexie.
She said: ‘Ten weeks is the age when puppies are often sold on, so it can’t have been a breeder.
‘And, surely, if you had a puppy like him and you didn’t want him, you’d take him to a rescue centre.
‘None of it has ever made any sense and it remains a mystery why they did it.’
Despite bonding with Wilf quickly, Lexie did add that he was something of a handful, presumably because of his tough upbringing.
‘He barks at my dad, because he’s very tall, which scares him, or at the postman, because he’s walked past and unnerved him,’ said Lexie.
‘He’s also terrified of other dogs. If we pass a dog on the street, he’s quite reactive, which is a lot of hard work in itself. That’s never a pleasure…
‘He’s adorable, but he’s also hard work!’
But Wilf came into his own in November 2019 when Lexie split up with her boyfriend of six years, after realising that they had grown apart and wanted different things.
With a flat to sell, possessions to split, and the heartache of starting over, she said Wilf became her ‘best friend’.
She said: ‘The split left me with an awful lot to cope with – especially when Covid hit – and the routine of looking after Wilf and taking him for walks really gave me a structure and the motivation I needed to keep going.
‘Lockdown meant I couldn’t go out to meet new people, so he was my little bestie – and still is.
‘There were times when I really hit rock bottom, emotionally, but Wilf saved me and kept me going.’
She added that Wilf now comes before any human relationship: ‘There have been points during the pandemic when, without Wilf, I couldn’t have got out of bed, yet alone run a business.
‘So, I am afraid he is far more important to me than any boyfriend.’
Out of a truly horrifying event came a happy ending, for both Wilf and his loving owner Lexie.
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