Dachshund stolen in Derbyshire treated for post-traumatic stress

A dog has been getting help for post-traumatic stress nearly four months after being stolen, his owner said.

Rikki was among eight dachshunds taken from a kennels in Swadlincote, Derbyshire, on 10 February.

He was reunited with his owner Shelley Tomsett a month ago, but she said he was now scared of other dogs and had separation anxiety.

Sharon Alton, a dog psychologist, said Rikki had been showing signs of improvement.


Rikki was returned to Mrs Tomsett, from King's Lynn, Norfolk, after he was found running loose in a field in Hampshire - about 133 miles (214km) from where he was taken.

Mrs Tomsett said his personality had changed following his ordeal.

"He's scared of the dark, which he never was before," she said.

"I have to leave a nightlight on. If you turn the lights off, he starts barking.

"This dog never barked in his life before he was stolen. He's really suffering with separation anxiety."

She added Rikki's ordeal had also made him nervous around other dogs.

"He used to be a happy-go-lucky, friendly dog who loved everybody and everything and now he doesn't like male dogs at all," said Mrs Tomsett.

Rikki was picked up in a poor condition with fleas, overgrown claws and frostbitten ears.

Mrs Tomsett said three of her other dogs who were stolen with Rikki remained missing.

Sharon Alton, a dog psychologist, has been working with Rikki to help him overcome his trauma.

She said: "It's essentially like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"He's faced this trauma, he's probably not had very much human contact and when he did, it was probably quite rough so he's latching on to who he knows and who he cares for."

She said his recovery would be a "slow process" but added he was already showing some signs of improvement.


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