Memories of The Mudlarks

Last weekend one of those memory reminders popped up our Facebook feed. Just about a six years ago, the duo known as The Mudlarks had arrived at Twilight. This expert from our biography Paws Before Bedtime recounts their story.

The request for help from one of our supporters read like this:

The owner, a gypsy-type, did have lots of sheep and six dogs who were attached with a chain to a barrel, without straw and hardly ever fed and watered. In conjunction with the Maire, the gendarmes, Brigitte Bardot Association, the SPA and several volunteers, the sheep have now been placed elsewhere, two dogs have gone to the SPA at Perigueux, one dog died, and one got adopted. These two old dogs stayed behind. Volunteers made an area where they could walk about, provided straw, food and water. They are between ten and twelve years old and not all that healthy. They will have no chance of being adopted at the SPA. The Maire and gendarmes, therefore, have decided that they will come in on the twenty-fifth of this month and will euthanise the dogs. The others and only recently me too have been trying to find them a home but to no avail …

When the call came to take in the two desperate Mudlarks Twilight really didn’t know what to expect. The vet feared rabies from this abandoned gypsy camp and the two dogs that landed were nothing short of a mess, fearful and hungry. They arrived safely, thanks to Sylvie. They were clearly deeply traumatised, absolutely filthy and both males, with the most beautiful eyes under all their matted hair.

Although they will be forever remembered as the Mudlarks, they were named Louis and Scamp. On the first night, Scamp brightened up a bit, still nervous, but clearly less stressed. Poor Lucky Louis was just plain exhausted by it all, barely able to hold his head up, with little energy to eat and he needed his mate Scamp to make any decisions. Both improved by the day in terms of settling in. Clearly, they were in a world quite alien, but taking each step gently and learning to trust. They enjoyed their warm, snug beds and little Scamp barked, but was hoarse, most likely from many moons of barking and no one hearing.

When it came to bath-time, the Mudlarks were top of the agenda. Time to get rid of that mud! Both had health issues, hearing problems, needed sterilisation, and some immediate issues with eyes and tummies requiring antibiotics from the vet. Sadly, it was all too much for poor Louis who left his brother to go over the Rainbow Bridge not long after his arrival, but he did enjoy the time he had, with good food, a soft bed and no chain.

Scamp had a stroke not long after he arrived. As with any sick or dying Twilighter, Leeanne or Mike stayed up and kept vigil all night: “I shall never forget it, we sat arm in arm through the night, keeping eye contact. He so wanted to live and experience some real life … we willed each other through the deepest time of compassion two different animals of this planet can experience. It was the most moving and precious experience, I really don’t have the words to describe.”

The washroom, where we usually quarantine new arrivals, became Scamp’s favourite haunt, he would spend a lot of his day in his basket there, and asleep overnight. Whenever a new dog arrived Scamp stayed with them, in the washroom, to keep them company. He might pop out to greet a (human) visitor, but then quickly return to his nursing duties. He knew that they were scared and he was reassuring them that everything would be OK.

Scamp then grew well and strong. He loved life, he loved the pack and he loved special cuddle times. He was the quiet one, but his aura shone large, and he had many special admirers. His tummy troubles grew worse and Twilight had to face facts that it might be cancer, but the vets decided opening him up was no way to go, and scans would make little difference to the treatment. So, cuddles in abundance, special food to help the intestines … and more cuddles.

Then, on returning home from a short break, Mike and Leeanne found that Scamp was weaker. Leeanne says, “He waited, of that I am sure. I’ve never experienced this before, but he waited. As soon as life was ‘normal’ again, he walked up close, collapsed and we both knew. Scamp was the soul we all should be. Ask nothing of those around you but for love, for sharing, for compassion of the small needs and to just ‘be’.”

If you’ve enjoyed this excerpt from our biography  copies are still available ~ just email us at You can also help us to continue rescuing dogs like Louis and Scamp with regular sponsorship of one of our current Puds, or one-off donations via PayPal.