By Helen Le Caplain
A retired detective who thought he’d put his crime-solving ways behind him now spends every day hunting for his ‘missing’ pooch – who blends in perfectly with the conservatory rug.
As soon as Ian Dixon and his wife Jeanette [Dixon] bought a black deep-pile rug to replace a tired-looking red floor covering in 2014 they soon realised there was going to be a problem.
The couple’s four-year-old black cockerpoo Milo has fur the exact same shade and texture as the plush rug and loves nothing more than to curl up on it – vanishing entirely.
Former West Midlands Police detective Ian hung up his hat in November 2011 but for the last four years has had to regularly scour the room for fear Milo’s gone missing.
The couple and their two daughters Danielle Dixon, 27, and Megan Dixon, 23, are also forced to tip-toe across the room for fear of treading on the camouflaged canine.
Ian from Great Barr, Birmingham, said: “We’ve always had a rug in the conservatory. The red one we used to have in there was starting to get a bit tired so we decided to get a black one to replace it.
“We found out more or less straight away that as soon as he got on the new rug he would disappear entirely.
“It’s a woolly rug and he’s got quite a woolly looking coat too when he’s got a long coat on him.
“He’s exactly the same woolly texture – we have a shaggy rug and a shaggy dog. He’s completely black apart from one white stripe on his chest so when he’s lying down he blends in completely.
“He loves lying on it as he can see out into the garden.
“As soon as he went on it and we sat down we were like ‘oh my God, where’s the dog?’ Most of the time it’s just impossible to see him.
“It’s turned into a bit of a joke but poor Milo ends up sometimes being trodden on and gives out a little yelp.
“When people visit, especially my parents who don’t have the best eyesight, they end up catching him.
“We started having to constantly ask each other ‘is the dog under me?’ before putting the footrest down on the sofa and walking across the room.”
Ian, 54, took a snap of Milo sprawled out on the £100 Ikea rug last year and shared it with friends after they realised he had ‘disappeared’.
Ian said: “We took the picture when we sat in there watching TV and realised we couldn’t see him.
“We showed the snap to friends and family who were amazed that they couldn’t see him at all, they found it really funny.”
The family got Milo when he was just eight weeks old, and is the first dog Ian’s owned.
Ian, a team leader and fundraiser for the Canal & River Trust, said: “He’s the first dog I’ve ever had at the age of 51.
“My daughters always wanted a dog while they were growing up but it’s not fair having a dog and leaving it in the house eight hours a day.
“When I retired from the police force I began a part-time job and was at home a lot more often so I was happy to get a dog. My daughters are also adults so can help look after him.
“Milo is black with a little white stripe down his front like a tuxedo.
“He’s very friendly and bouncy and goes on two walks a day, one in the morning to go and get the paper and then one later in the afternoon.
“At the weekend we enjoy nice long walks at Sandwell Valley Country Park where he likes to run around.
“He’s absolutely fabulous, he’s my best friend. Anyone who knows me know that up until having Milo I wasn’t a dog lover but he’s completely changed my life.”
Ian and his PA wife Jeanette, 52, are planning to redecorate the conservatory and will be changing the rug to a lighter one so that they can easily spot him.
Ian said: “We’re going to go a major redecoration of the conservatory and get a lighter rug so we stop stepping on him.”