Liz Haslam has been surrounded by dogs ever since she was a little girl. Her mom bred West Highlands terriers and her dad managed an animal food business, and through the years, her love for these animals just grew and grew.
She would carry this deep affection into adulthood. But little did she know that one day, this love would be the cause of separation from someone who was also very important to her.
Liz was only 16 years old when she met the love of her life, Mike. The two were madly in love, and after graduating high school, the pair decided to get married. Liz left the nest and decided to start her new life with Mike, and the young couple settled down in the English countryside in a 2-bedroom house.
After a few years, the pair had their child Ollie, and they couldn’t be any happier. Life was going smoothly.
That is, until their 25th year of marriage, when Liz made a life-changing decision that would break their family apart.
When the family moved into the countryside, Liz realized that it was the perfect time for her to start a project close to her heart – Beds for Bullies, an organization that provides shelter to bull terriers in need. Many of these dogs had medical or behavioral issues, which made it difficult for them to find their forever homes.
As noble as this initiative was, Mike began to feel that their lives were starting to revolve heavily around these dogs, so he confronted Liz about it.
“My husband said ‘It’s either the dogs or me.’ Since that moment I have neither seen nor heard from him,” Liz said. The threat of separation was looming over their relationship.
Mike felt overwhelmed by the love that Liz had for the dogs, and he believes that it is taking away from their relationship.
“I thought that, after 25 years, he should’ve known that giving up dogs was not a part of my intentions, not at all. He knew from the moment we got married what I was all about. I don’t know what he expected,” Liz said.
Liz understood that not everyone can be as big of a dog lover as she was, and after the discussion, the couple knew that separation would be best for both of them given the circumstances.
“We drifted apart. He was very busy with work, and he didn’t give me a chance. I didn’t want to be the woman married to a workaholic, so I took refuge in those who gave me love: my dogs,” Liz confessed.
Caring for lots of dogs was far from an easy task. Liz says that she spends about 18 hours a day caring for the pups. Being a foster mom also took a dent on her finances, as she spends about hundreds on the medications and vet treatments.
The highly-demanding nature of her advocacy left Mike in second place on the list of her priorities.
“My passion for dogs was too huge for Mike,” she said.
Despite the separation, Bed for Bullies is still growing strong with the help of donations that it receives from her fellow dog lovers. In fact, Liz is aware that it’s a charity “that relies mostly on donations”, plus a small business which cares for pets when their owners are out of town.
Liz says that she has rescued about 200 dogs over the years, and she has continued to foster more.
Her commitment to rescuing these homeless pups had left her with a veterinary bill that totaled $4,500. There was even a time that she was forced to live in a tent because she couldn’t pay her rent anymore. But Liz triumphantly bounced back from all of these trying times, and she couldn’t be any happier with how she’s living her life.
“I’ve chosen to do this, and I love it,” she shared.
Watch the video below and get a glimpse into Liz’s life with her beloved Bull terriers.