Shropshire landowner's dash to replace lost pet
Writer and landowner William Cash thought he had found the ideal solution when he lost his wife-to-be's puppy – he bought her a replacement and hoped she wouldn't notice.
Mr Cash had presented Lady Laura Cathcart with the £800 pug as an engagement gift.
But the pet, called Damson, escaped from their home near Bridgnorth two weeks before Mr Cash – son of MP Bill Cash – tied the knot.
Lady Cathcart, 29, whose father is the 7th Earl of a pug-obsessed clan that dates back to the 12th Century, was on her hen night in Essex, leaving her fiance looking after Damson and their four-year-old labrador, Cressetta, when the escape from Upton Cressett Hall occurred.
Mr Cash was working upstairs at the couple's Elizabethan manor when the kitchen door, warped by the February floods, blew off, allowing the two dogs to flee.
"The labrador eventually came home with her tail between her legs," said Mr Cash.
"But we never saw Damson again. I all but drained the moat but to no avail.
"A fox or a hawk must have got her. In the middle of it all, Laura rang me to says she would be back that evening and she couldn't wait to see her pug."
Mr Cash, 47, who previously married jewellery heiress Ilaria Bulgari and Mick Jagger's ex-lover, Vanessa Neumann, said he feared losing Damson could cost him a third wife.
So he tracked down a lookalike pug for £1,000 on the internet and set off in his Jeep on a 75-minute drive to a housing estate in Kingstanding, Birmingham.
Mr Cash, who admitted to being terrified while waiting to buy the dog, called Thimble, with £1,000 in fifties, made it home with minutes to spare.
But when his bride-to-be arrived home straight away she realised something was wrong.
"For Laura, pugs come first. Pugs, hats and then – hopefully – me. I had to come clean," said Mr Cash.
"She was very upset but thankfully she and Thimble fell totally in love.
"Laura did realise that I was at least, two weeks before the wedding, trying to make her happy."
The wedding finally took place last month with guest including Elizabeth Hurley in attendance.
"Laura and Thimble have both settled into Upton Cressett and Thimble spends most of her days curled up by Laura's feet in her millinary studio, where she is very busy making hats for Royal Ascot and summer weddings," said Mr Cash.
"Pugs will always be part of our family now.
"I expect it won't be too long before we get another but they are very mischievous so we have built a new enclosed yew garden."
Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.