Meet Tiddles, the puppy helping to ease Great Yarmouth family’s heartache after death of puppy Benji

Mark Phillips, left, and Gareth Deacon-Walker with new puppy, seven-week-old Tiddles, after the fami

Mark Phillips, left, and Gareth Deacon-Walker with new puppy, seven-week-old Tiddles, after the family puppy Benji was drowned when their house was burgled. PICTURE: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant

The pitter patter of tiny paws can once again be heard in the home haunted by the death of seven-month-old Benji.

The new puppy, seven-week-old Tiddles, at the home of the family at Great Yarmouth,whose puppy Benj

The new puppy, seven-week-old Tiddles, at the home of the family at Great Yarmouth,whose puppy Benji was drowned when their house was burgled. PICTURE: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant

Tiny Tiddles, a seven-week-old Lhasa Apso-Chihuahua cross, is settling into life with new owner Susan Walker, of Cobholm Close in Great Yarmouth.

It comes less than a month after Benji, Miss Walker's cockapoo, was found drowned by burglars in her family home.

The puppy was a gift from Tequila Barnard, a complete stranger to Miss Walker, who was moved by Benji's tragic tale.

Miss Walker, 33, said: 'Gestures like this show there is as much good in the world as there is evil.

Benji the Cockapoo was drowned by burglars in Cobholm, Great Yarmouth. Photo: Mark Phillips

Benji the Cockapoo was drowned by burglars in Cobholm, Great Yarmouth. Photo: Mark Phillips - Credit: Archant

'My daughter Holly absolutely loves him and while he will never replace Benji, he is filling a small hole.'

On April 4, Miss Walker returned home from her mother's house to news that fiancé Mark Phillips and brother Gareth Deacon-Walker had discovered her home ransacked, and Benji dead in the bathtub.

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She now says the entire house is a constant reminder of the puppy's death, despite outpourings of kindness from friends, family, and strangers.

She said: 'The last two weeks have been a living nightmare. Everything in the house reminds me of Benji and it's a struggle being here alone.

'However, having Tiddles has helped and the response we have received has been lovely.'

Mr Deacon-Walker - who made the startling discovery - added: 'I keep reliving that moment over and over - I'm still finding it hard to sleep. It haunts me.

'It's been strange seeing people's reaction though. I have had people recognise me in the streets and stop to give me a hug, and people turn up on the door in tears. It's really affected people.'

The family have received cards and well wishes from across the world and have vowed to reply to every individual message where an address has been left.

Mr Phillips said: 'It has been a difficult time, however the reaction we have had has been overwhelming.

'I can't thank Tequila enough, and a massive thank you also goes out to everybody who has been in touch with us. The social media reaction was huge.'

Meanwhile, police have confirmed that investigations into the burglary are currently on-going. Anybody with information should contact Det Con Richard Wallis at Great Yarmouth CID on 101.

Mum inspired by kindness of strangers

Tiddles was donated by Mile Cross mum Tequila Barnard, who was inspired after herself experiencing the kindness of strangers.

Last year, her 11-year-old daughter Faith was diagnosed with lymphoma and received a similar outpouring of public support.

Mrs Barnard said: 'When Faith was in hospital we received such kindness - so when she heard about this story we saw the opportunity to do the same for somebody else. It was her idea.

'We received so many messages of support and people did amazing things for her, so we wanted to give something back.

'The family seem so lovely - they brought a big bunch of flowers with them when they collected Tiddles and have been sending me updates on how he is - or pupdates as I like to call them.'

The 34-year-old added that she loves the name the family have chosen, as it was also the name of her first pet cat.

Faith has since been given the all clear.

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