Liz Jones Diary: In Which I am Told I Neglect My Dogs

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How can they say that? I dedicate my life and every penny to my animal

It was my New Years break. On New Years Eve, New Years Day and the Bank Holiday, Nic was on sick leave. Which meant that I not only had my horses, but also his. It took four and a half hours to clean every day. I then picked up manure from the fields, filled hay nets, buckets of water, prepared food, saw the farrier, walked in and out, changed carpets endlessly. Not easy in a storm with my Swirly, who bobs her head a lot and prances and really tries to scratch me in a bramble.

I didn’t have time to run errands or cook dinner as I was also normally working on my day job: writing. I would come back to the cottage and feed my happy and exhausted dogs. Teddy, the new rescue collie, has settled in beautifully, enjoying his organic human food, hours and hours of exercise with the horses, and never being left behind. I had just sat back, feeling liberated from having blocked my ex. In the immortal words of Mary J Blige:

‘Heartbroken again. Another lesson learned. Get to know your friends better. Or else you’re gonna get burned… No more pain (no more pain) No drama (no more drama in my life)’

I wonder why Mary isn’t much richer than Adele and Ed Sheeran combined. Then, just now, I received a text message, which was forwarded to me by Stef, the woman who organized the rescue of Teddy from Romania. It was from a man. Andrew G Doe. His real name, I wonder? He wrote…

‘Dear Steve. may I ask, when you arranged for Liz Jones, the Mail on Sunday reporter, you were aware of her past history of having such animals. One gutted a sheep. His dogs are so poorly trained that they are barely trained. She has a habit of leaving them in cars on a hot day…’

He continued. And on. I was so upset I could lose Teddy. Isn’t it interesting how people twist things? Sam did kill a sheep: the farmer who owned it before throwing it out to starve it had kept it chained. As it was abandoned, there was no story. Gracie chews and, yes, she’s stressed. It’s the fault of the farmer’s wife who abused her mother so much that no one could come near her. She passed on her terror to her puppies. I have never left my dogs in a hot car. Never.

I dedicate my life and every penny I earn to animals. When Lizzie, my rescued racehorse, attacked me, I didn’t fight back. No. I left and hired an equine behaviorist, who still works for me to this day: Nic. I once fostered a 40-year-old thoroughbred mare, whose owner had been kicked out of her boarding yard. I only asked the owner to pay for vet fees and the cost of his horse being put to sleep at home and cremated when the time came. She has accepted.

When the horse began to descend into the field, Nic watched her 24 hours a day. She crawled into the field after her, using the light from her phone. The woman refused to visit him, saying she had to “race to school”. When the horse had to be put down, the woman refused to pay, offering only her dirty old rugs, which she said I could sell on Ebay. She posted online that I “kill horses”. Nothing was done !

A woman wrote on Mumsnet that she saw me take cocaine at a party. I wanted to sue her but my editor advised me that it would be too expensive. My God, if I had written that lie about a celebrity, I would have been prosecuted, then fired. I was taken to the Press Complaints Commission by the charity Hearing Dogs For Deaf People when I wrote that my collies were hearing for me. I won, but the case kept me awake for months. The constant calls, emails, threats.

A fellow newspaper columnist wrote on Twitter that I have sex with my cats. She quickly deleted the tweet, which made the Evening Standard news pages, but luckily I had saved a screenshot. I say fortunately: she still has her column, in a family newspaper, to this day.

So now I’m afraid of losing Teddy when he was so brave and confident. I don’t know where to turn, because no one ever helps me! No one defends me! No one is by my side!

8 1/2 Stone, the debut novel by Liz Jones, is available as an audiobook on Amazon and Audible. Coming soon to Spotify, Apple Books and all the usual outlets

★Everyone is talking about Liz Jones’ Diary: The Podcast! ★

Join Liz and her trusty (long-suffering) assistant Nicola as they dissect her weekly YOU magazine diary and delve into the archives to relive meltdowns, betrayals, bullets… and more in this brilliant podcast. They’re candid, outrageous, and downright hilarious. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and mailplus.co.uk

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