To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, as long as you both shall live. This is the vow that millions of couples make when they get married, including Liz and Mike Haslam.
When the Haslams married 25 years ago, they thought they would spend a life time together. But as time went on, things started to change and Mike forced his wife to make a choice and he probably wasn’t super thrilled with the result.
They were married in 1991, and because of Liz’s love of dogs they decided to open up their own boarding kennel on their farm.
She ended up founding her own animal rescue called BedforBullies which specializes in Bull Terriers. She started fostering dozens of dogs, any one that needed a place to stay.
Liz took in dogs even when they had behavioral or medical issues that would make it impossible to re-home them, and over time her husband started to become more and more frustrated.
“We just drifted more and more apart,” Liz said. “He was heavily into his work and it left me with nothing to do. I didn’t want to be a work widow so I buried myself in my dogs.”
She maintains that he knew exactly what he was getting into when they met, exactly how much he loved dogs. “He knew from the moment that we got together what I was all about. I don’t know what he expected.”
Apparently he didn’t realize just how much work it was going to be to take care of all the dogs she wanted to take in. “It just got to the point where he was fed up with the dogs and wanted to slow down but that wasn’t my intention.”
He tried to convince Liz to take a vacation, but with all her dogs it was impossible. “Before we split up he kept saying ‘I do not want to be doing this, I want to get a passport and go away.'”
“He felt as though he wanted his own life back but I said it is too much of a passion of mine to give up,” Liz explained. “But I wasn’t prepared to give it all up. So he decided to go, and obviously that was his choice.”
She knows that they are a lot of work, but her dogs mean the world to her. “It is very deliberating job, you can’t have a day off,” she said. “I don’t sit down till 11:30pm 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.”
However the vet bills are taking over her life. She currently owes more than £4,000 (more than $5000) in vet bills and is having trouble affording her rent. Her landlord has told her she has to move out within the year but even though the dogs cost her a marriage and a home, she still couldn’t imagine it any other way.
“I have taken them in to look after them, I save dogs from all around the world that have been shot and badly injured.”
She currently has 30 dogs, with 15 of them being special needs. Five of them are deaf, two are missing an eye, three were fighting dogs before she got them, four others suffer from different types of defects, and one has brain damage. She continues taking in dogs even though she has a lot of them, and her foundation relies only on the donations she receives.
“I have chosen to do this. I love it.”
Do you think you could live a life like that? Putting your love of animals before everything else?
Do you think this husband should have been more supportive of her passion or should she have tried to compromise?
While this story is pretty insane, at least this couple was able to separate. There is actually a woman who wanted to divorce her husband who wasn’t allowed to do so because the husband said no.