Husband gives wife ultimatum says ‘it’s me or the dogs’ – wife chose the dogs
Sussex: A wife when given an ultimatum to choose between her husband and the 30 dogs she rescued is now single. Li Hazlam, 49 chose the single life than giving up her dogs.
Li said that her husband Mike, 53, told her ‘it’s me or the dogs’.
Unwilling to compromise, she says she is now happier than ever:
‘I thought after 25 years, he should know giving up the dogs was not what my intentions were. ‘He just got to the point where he had enough and he wanted to slow down. But I wasn’t prepared to give it all up. So he decided to go, and obviously, that was his choice.’
Liz met Mike when she was 16 and left home to move in with him when she finished school.
The couple got married in January 1991 and they share a 22-year-old son, Ollie. Liz grew up with dogs for most of her life as her mother bred West Highland Terriers and her father owned an animal food business.
So when the couple moved into a two-bedroom farmhouse in Barnham, Suffolk, with half an acre of land seven years ago, she decided to start a boarding kennel business.
‘He knew from the moment that we got together what I was all about. I don’t know what he expected. ‘He told me he was going and had sorted out some other accommodation so he packed his bags and went.
‘Before we split up he kept saying ‘I do not want to be doing this, I want to get a passport and go away’. ‘I said that isn’t going to happen so we might as well go our separate ways, which we did.
Liz said her husband felt the relationship had become evolved around the dogs – which all have behavioral and medical problems and are not able to be re-homed. But 18 months on from the split, Liz says she and Mike have had no further contact, despite still being married.
‘My son’s grown up and is old enough to look after himself,’ she said. ‘If I hadn’t buried myself in it I would have just been sitting at home twiddling my thumbs and that’s really not me. ‘My passion for dogs was far too great for Mike. He decided that it would be nice to do more other things in life.
‘It is a very deliberating job, you can’t have a day off,’ she said. ‘I don’t sit down till 11:30 pm at night so you can’t just go on holiday. ‘And I can’t just turn around and say I am not going to do it anymore, it is my responsibility, I took the dogs in I can’t just stop. They are rescue dogs which cannot be re-homed.
She spends around 18 hours of her day looking after the dogs as she walks them four times a day and spends hundreds of pounds every month on their medication and other treatments. Her kennel business is successful but only has seven spaces to let out and it doesn’t cover all of her costs. This has left her with a vets’ bill of more than £4,000 as well as rent arrears on her £800-a-month home. But Liz is adamant she couldn’t be happier – despite her landlord now insisting she must move out of the property within a year. Liz said:
‘I have re-homed so many dogs and now I am looking for a home. I have chosen to do this. I love it.’