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October 31, 2002


From: Bath Chronicle, UK
Oct. 31, 2002

They say cats have nine lives - but a little dog in Trowbridge is giving the moggies a run for their money.

The miniature black poodle has gone from abandonment to working dog to pet.

Two-year-old Merrie Poominella, was found as a frightened puppy after being abandoned in a field with her mother in Wales.

She was originally christened Fleur by a local rescue shelter before being selected by national charity Hearing Dogs For Deaf People as a new recruit.

But staff soon discovered her distressing start to life meant she could not settle as a working dog and would be happier as a pet.

Now Fleur, who was renamed Merrie by her new owner, Trowbridge and District Canine Training Society trainer Sheila Farr, is about to embark on a life of shows at Canine Society accredited competitions next year.

"I have four poodles including Merrie and I have already entered her into an obedience class where she came fourth out of six dogs, " said Mrs Farr.

"Her obedience training is coming along superbly and she is now progressing on to agility training, and a friend of mine may eventually run her in that category.

"She has been registered with the Kennel Club as Merrie Poominella, and I hope to be able to enter her into competitions sometime next year." Mrs Farr took Merrie's second name Poominella from aspects of her and her husband Nelson's names.

"Poo because she is a poodle, min comes from miniature, nel because of Nelson and la from my name Sheila." Mrs Farr joined the Wiltshire dog club in 1964 and gives six hours of training a week to puppies and adult dogs at Trowbridge's Longfield Community Centre.

"Poodles are very intelligent animals. People often just think they are naughty, but if you praise them for each bit of good behaviour you get, they will respond, " she said. "Hearing dogs for deaf people ensure that each dog selected for the scheme is carefully matched to its future home - whether as a pet or as a hearing dog."

For further information about Hearing Dogs For The Deaf contact 01844 348 100 or

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