Lapping up the limelight as they pose for a photo or amuse with their lovable antics, they are the bright-eyed, waggy-tailed rising stars of Instagram with nearly 17,000 followers.
But these six spaniels’ proudest achievement is that they have helped to save the life of a fellow four-legged friend — who is now the seventh member of their pack.
The mutts — cocker spaniels Penny, Lola, Harry and Sophie; sprocker, or springer-cocker cross, Minnie, who is Harry’s daughter; and Alfie, another cocker, who came from a rescue centre — were featured in a calendar that helped raise funds for vital treatment for their playmate.
Hound do you do: Kelly’s mob of mutts with their new pal Alfie II (pictured far left). They are the bright-eyed, waggy-tailed rising stars of Instagram with nearly 17,000 followers
Leader of the pack: Vet Kelly Roberts pictured above with Alfie II, left, so named because one of her other six spaniels was already called Alfie!
Vet and self-confessed ‘spaniel addict’ Kelly Roberts raised more than £5,000 for four rounds of surgery for a springer spaniel brought in to her clinic with a broken leg — and was then welcomed into her home.
The previous owner of the pooch — originally called Alfie, but renamed Alfie II because of his namesake — had died suddenly weeks before and he was being looked after by someone else. Then he somehow suffered the injury to his front right leg.
Miss Roberts, 36, said Alfie II was on the verge of being put to sleep as his new owners, who told her he was 12 years old, were reluctant to take on the cost of his care.
So she stepped in, raised the money via crowdfunding, an auction and the calendar featuring photos of her pets, and the owners agreed she could have him.
Miss Roberts, from Usk, Monmouthshire, said: ‘Luckily, Alfie II was brought in to the vet clinic of a spaniel lover and was signed over to me. He’s adorable and I just had to help him.’
Liver and white-coated Alfie II first had surgery performed by a colleague of Miss Roberts at the surgery where she works, costing around £1,500. A screw and pin were fitted to stabilise the break, but it worked itself loose.
JANUARY: Taking the ruff with the smooth: Kelly’s heroes brave the winter snow. They are rapidly becoming social media favourites on Miss Roberts’ Instagram page
MARCH: Bridge magnets: Penny, Sophie, Alfie I, Harry, Lola and Minnie in fund-raising calendar pose. Miss Roberts grew up with a love of animals thanks to her grandparents’ farm
AUGUST: Fun in the sun among the heather. Vet and self-confessed ‘spaniel addict’ Miss Roberts takes the spaniels for walks during her daily lunch breaks
After two more rounds of surgery to try to fix it, costing around £500 each, it was decided Alfie II needed a fourth operation to fit a more robust screw and plate — this time by an orthopaedic specialist at Langford Vets Small Animal Hospital, part of the University of Bristol.
Thankfully, that £3,400 procedure in September last year worked — and Alfie II is now gently padding his way back to a normal life.
He has to be kept separate from her other spaniels in case he damages his injured leg, which still needs to build up muscle, in their rough and tumble games.
So Miss Roberts keeps him on a lead when walking them all together. The other six love charging about off the lead, but they and Alfie II enjoy posing for a group photo, as our pictures taken during a walkies at Garn Lakes near Pontypool, show.
They are rapidly becoming social media favourites on Miss Roberts’ Instagram page, ‘Vet stuff and spaniels’.
OCTOBER: Kelly’s original mob of mutts, pictured. Miss Roberts raised the money for Alfie II’s care via crowdfunding, an auction and the calendar featuring photos of her pets
NOVEMBER: Music to our floppy ears: Kelly’s adorable spaniels look like they’re on the cover of a top-selling album… rock, of course
Lola, ten, a chocolate cocker, was her first dog. Penny, Harry and Sophie, all seven, are puppies of Lola’s. Sprocker Minnie, 18 months, is Harry’s daughter. The original Alfie, nine, is a black cocker.
Miss Roberts grew up with a love of animals thanks to her grandparents’ farm. She worked on a pedigree sheep farm and as a veterinary receptionist in her 20s, then retrained as a vet, qualifying in 2018.
She takes the spaniels for walks during her daily lunch breaks, travelling further afield with them on her day off.
Alfie II may need physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to aid his recovery further. But for now, nothing is stopping him joining in with his doggy pals’ photo fun.
The calendar is available for purchase by contacting Kelly directly through her Twitter page @KellyTheVet or her Instagram @vetstuffandspaniels.