Last month, we told you about the Shar-Pei mix who was found abandoned at a Scotland train station, tied to a railing. He had a suitcase. In that suitcase was all his stuff: a pillow, a toy, a bowl, and food.
It was heartbreaking. It was cruel. It was maddening. It was also adorable, and it made for an incredible picture:
Hearts melted, and Kai became a celebrity is short order. People compared him to Paddington Bear, who happened to have a major motion picture in theaters that very moment.
But the story of how a dog came to be waiting for the G train like an advertising exec popping off to the country for the weekend was, indeed, a sad one: Kai was the victim of a botched sale. A ne’er-do-well listed a dog on the UK’s Gumtree classifieds site, then did a bait and switch when a woman showed up to look at the dog at the train station. Kai wasn’t the dog in the ad. The woman, Fin Rayner, still gave the dog a shot and said she would take him for a walk, and the man asked for a deposit.
Rayner agreed, and the man left, never to be seen again. Rayner didn’t want the dog — so she left, too, though after telling a train worker that she was leaving the dog.
Kai ended up at the Scottish SPCA, which released that iconic photo, and that’s when Kai’s life forever changed. The organization was “overwhelmed” by offers of new homes for Kai, according to Alan Grant, senior animal care assistant, from places as far away as New York, Los Angeles, France, Spain, and the Philippines. The SPCA had a big job on its hands.
“It was really important for us to select an owner who wanted Kai for all the right reasons and had really thought through their decision to take on a rescue dog,” Grant said.
And that owner, after a lengthy search, is now Ian Russell, 52, a self-employed hydraulic engineer from Newton Mearns, East Renfrewshire.
“It feels like fate that I’ve been able to rehome Kai, and I’m not usually a believer in things like that. I’m over the moon and very shocked that I was chosen out of everyone who wanted him,” he said.
“My Dalmatian named Mica passed away just before Christmas, and I was left heartbroken,” he said. “I had her for 15 years, and she was the apple of my eye.”
Russell was picked, in part, because he wanted what was best for Kai — he called the SPCA and simply asked if there was any way he could help the dog. He told them that he would like to adopt the dog, but if staff thought another dog would suit him better, he would take their advice.
That was what the SPCA wanted to hear. Russell found out he would be Kai’s new dad in early February. He hopes Kai will accompany him around Scotland while he works.
“I work all over Scotland, mainly outdoors, driving wherever I’m needed in my van. Kai will come with me, and when it’s appropriate I’ll let him out to run around and play safely while I work. Then we’ll jump back into the van together and head to the next place. We’ll be able to hang out all the time.”
“We know Kai will have a fantastic new life with Ian and we couldn’t be happier for him,” said Grant.
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