By Hannah Phillips
A sausage dog-obsessed couple sold their house and upsized to a bigger three-bedroom property – all to make space for their 14 pooches.
Mandy Whitnall, 37, and husband Alec, 45, live with 13 Dachshunds and one Jack Russell in their spacious three-bedroomed home in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire.
The couple moved there in September after selling their smaller two bedroomed bungalow in Cambridge for £230,000 because it was no longer big enough to house all their pets.
Mandy’s sausage dog obsession began 16 years ago when she brought home two dachshunds rather than the one she’d planned to adopt because she couldn’t decide between them.
The couple’s pack has been growing ever since, and housewife Mandy and window fitter husband Alec, who don’t have kids, say training them is easier than raising children.
Mandy said: “We don’t have children – the dogs are our babies, so they have a life of luxury.
“When we moved house, we had to buy a new sofa that sits eight people and they’ve just taken over that already.
“They have their own room and we made them big dog beds to share, but they still spend most of their time on the furniture.
“We knew years ago that we needed to move, it was just affording it.
“We had to make an effort to save but we had a bereavement in the family that left us with some money.
“But it’s been so worth it, we all love it here.
“When we were looking for houses, we were definitely making decisions on what would be best for the dogs.”
The couple dog-obsessed take pooches Tia and Sally, both 16, Joey, 15, Saffy, 12, Maisie, eight, Jack Russell, Ruby, eight, Dolly and Lady, both five, Teddy, four, Sophie, three, Piper, two, Rosa, 18 months, Shelby, 16 months and Luna, six weeks, out for walks in groups of four, three times a day.
They estimate they spend £3,000 a year in total on the pampered pooches – including £80 a month on vet bills and a further £80 a month on food.
When the couple moved, Mandy piling the pets into her four by four car while Alec travelled in the moving van, but were sad to leave their former neighbours who loved the dogs.
Mandy has even trained all the dogs herself and poses the pack up regularly for the perfect group paw-trait.
She said: “We spend a lot on the dogs, but they’re our children.
“They were good as gold when we moved.
“It’s a full-time job, exercising them, brushing them, walking and feeding them, but I still think it’s a lot easier than having kids.”
“It’s actually really easy to take pictures of them all together, we just line them up and tell them to stay and they know they’re going to get a treat.”
The couple began breeding their pedigree pups 14 years ago and now only keep their favourites, although Mandy said they still get attached to each one.
Mandy said her relatives think she’s crackers but her friend’s children love coming over for sleepovers to play with the dogs.
Both Mandy and Alec made the decision not to have children as they both prefer raising sausage dogs
She said: “They have the run of the house and they don’t want for anything. They have the best of the best.
“I shouldn’t have a favourite but it’s got to be Dolly, I just love her so much because she’s really naughty.
“They’re always laying on top of each other. They keep me nice and warm in the winter when they lay on me.
“When we have a new litter, Alec doesn’t need much persuading when I suggest keeping one. He’ll just say if I like that one I can keep it.
“The Jack Russell, Ruby, thinks she’s a sausage dog anyway.
“She was actually raised by a sausage dog because her mum died after she was born so the breeder’s other dog raised her.
“She doesn’t know any different.”