By Niamh Shacketon
A tiny pooch who survived skin cancer is now forced to wear a onesie to protect her delicate skin from the sun.
Bug – a tiny Chinese Crested dog – has had to have the tips of both her ears amputated after she was treated for skin cancer.
And now, the pint-sized pooch doesn’t leave the house without being dressed in UV-blocking clothes by dedicated owner Bev Nicholson, 56.
Bev, a pet shop owner from Peterborough, said: “I rescued Bug from a centre a year ago – she had already suffered a great trauma to her eye which sadly meant it had to be removed.
“I fell in love with her and knew I wanted to take her home.
“When I got Bug home her ear tips became crusty, the lesions just wouldn’t heal – they were spreading and went from being scabby to an open wound.
“Both the vet and I tried many remedies such as colloidal silver, coconut oil, aloe vera, manuka honey as well as veterinary creams, covering them and leaving the wound open to no avail.
“This left us with no choice but to amputate the ear tips.”
It’s believed Bug contracted the condition because of prolonged exposure to the sun which damaged the skin’s cells.
But now, she is forced to wear a colourful camouflaged onesie whenever she goes for walkies – as well as being slathered in sun cream.
Owner Bev ordered the specialist sun suit from Canada, so Bug can get her exercise in the summer without having to worry about the sun’s rays.
And her unusual get up means she’s the talk of the town when Bev takes her for a walk – with the pair having to stop to explain Bug’s bizarre get up several times a day to baffled passers by.
Bev explained: “I thought it would be best for Bug to have her skin covered, as sun cream just isn’t enough for her, even though I slather her in human Factor 50 every day.
“I saw the little UV swimsuits that children wear and started looking for one for Bug.
“I got this one custom-made and shipped in from Canada.
“Bug wasn’t very keen on having it put on over her head at first, but it’s for her own good, and it didn’t take her very long to get used to it.
“She loves having her clothes put on now.
“It attracts a lot of attention, it’s like walking around with a celebrity. People always want to know why she’s wearing clothes and what is wrong with her ears.
“Most people are lovely but some people are really rude about her – they say: ‘What is that?’. I’m used to it now though.”
In addition to Bug only having one eye and now two clipped ears, she also only has five teeth which causes her tongue to stick out.
But she’s not alone in her bizarre looks – Bev owns five other Chinese Crested dogs, and also owned the infamous late Mugly – who was once crowned the world’s ugliest dog.
She added: “I would like to raise awareness of the damage sun can do to our pets, not just hairless ones like Bug but especially pets with pink noses and white fur – they need firstly to be shaded from the sun as much as possible, light clothing or sun suits like Bug’s, if they need to go out and a SPF50 sun block on those areas that can’t be covered like exposed areas.
“Raising awareness of the skin damage the sun can do is vital as, just like humans, pets can also develop skin cancer amongst other complications.
“Losing both her ear tips is a perfect example to pet owners to take sun protection for their pets seriously.
“I am thrilled that Bug is cancer free and that her stitches are all out now and the latest wound is healing nicely – it’s good to see her back to her normal dizzy self.”