This six-legged dog finally gets a new home and she's just adorable

-Credit: (Image: Ollie Bird)
-Credit: (Image: Ollie Bird)

Born with six legs and abandoned in a supermarket car park, Ariel had a tougher start in life than most puppies. But now, nine months later, the female Spaniel has finally settled into her forever home and got her happy ending - or happy beginning, as her new owners put it.

Couple Ollie Bird and Emma-Mary Webster, who live in Pembrokeshire, adopted Ariel on April 15 this year. But "it feels like we've had her forever," said Emma-Mary, who runs Pembrokeshire-based Blue Horizons Surf Club with Ollie.

Ariel's adoption arose from hardship both for the little pup and the couple. Last September, the dog - who is named after the title character of Disney's The Little Mermaid, because of the resemblance of her two extra back legs to a mermaid's tale - was found dumped outside a B&M store in Pembroke town centre when she was just 11 weeks. Try WalesOnline Premium for FREE by clicking here for no ads, fun puzzles and brilliant new features

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She was taken in by Greenacres Rescue and it was discovered she had multiple birth defects - including six legs, two vulvas and only one kidney. At the beginning of this year, she underwent surgery to remove her extra limbs, with kind-hearted members of the public having donated thousands to fund her life-changing operations.

Ariel has a 'happy beginning'
Ariel has a 'happy beginning' -Credit:Greenacres Rescue

Meanwhile, around the same time, Ollie and Emma-Mary lost their beloved Labrador-Pointer, Pippin, when he was 16. "He must have been carrying a brain tumour, which had no effect on him before, but overnight we ended up having to have him put down really suddenly," said Emma-Mary.

Within days of Pippin's death, the couple realised they couldn't live without a dog and applied to Greenacres Rescue for adoption. "We said we need a dog that would be good with children and be all right with other dogs, being down the beach all the time....[the rescue centre] suggested, would we like to take Ariel?" For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

The couple were initially unaware of Ariel's history and fame, with the pup's plight having made national and international headlines. "We must be the only people in Wales who probably didn't know about Ariel," laughed Ollie, 40.

Blue Horizons is an inclusive and adaptive surf school, catering towards people of all ages and abilities - including those with additional needs and disabilities. "We felt like we have some skills that we use with running the adaptive surf school which would rehabilitate her. And then when we met her, it was just a done deal," said Ollie.

Ariel the spaniel had two extra legs, an extra vulva and various birth defects - and has now had surgery
Ariel was born with various deformities, including two extra legs and an extra vulva -Credit:Greenacres Rescue
Her extra limbs resembled a mermaid's tail, giving rise to her name
Her extra limbs resembled a mermaid's tail, giving rise to her name -Credit:Greenacres Rescue

The couple adopted her around ten weeks after her operation. Two months on, she's taken to beach life like a duck to water and joins in when the couple are running surf lessons, swimming or paddleboarding. "We only do small groups anyway, but for some people, that might even be too much. She's a little ice-breaker for people to help them feel comfortable. She's already given back a little bit herself in return for all the help other people have given her without even realising it," said Emma-Mary.

Ariel joining in at Blue Horizons Surf School
Ariel joining in at Blue Horizons Surf School -Credit:Ollie Bird
She helps people feel comfortable in lessons, say her owners -Credit:Ollie Bird
She helps people feel comfortable in lessons, say her owners -Credit:Ollie Bird

"She's just a very, very loving dog...everyone's drawn to her. They give her lots of love and affection, and she's really good at giving it back." She's still recognised "massively" in the area, by locals as well as tourists, the couple added.

"We've been stopped on several walks and people have asked: 'Is that Ariel?'" They've even have tourists recognise her," said Ollie. "We were over in Milford Haven a couple of weeks back and some people said: 'Excuse me, I heard you call her Ariel. Is that Ariel the dog?' They were from the North of England somewhere on holiday."

The couple said they would like to "thank everybody who's really give us our lovely family member." Ollie added: "It's happy beginning for us - it's not a happy ending. It's just the beginning of her life of going out and having this freedom that the public have given her by donating towards the operation."

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