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Rescue Dog Of The Year

The winner of this year’s Rescue Dog of the Year Award is Alfie, a Newfoundland. Alfie won his way through to the final in the RSPCA’s Rescue Dog of the Year competition after he won one of seventy local heats before being featured on the RSPCA’s web site. People voted for him in the regional heat which put him into the Grand Final. The Grand Final was featured in the Daily Express, and Sunday Express readers were asked to vote for the dog they thought was most deserving of the title of Rescue Dog Of The Year.

Rescue dog of the yearAlfie is owned by Julia Marsh-Pitt from Chester-Le-Street. Julia suffers from a neurological condition called Cluster Headache, which gives her regular debilitating bouts of prolonged illness. She is currently awaiting brain surgery, but she credits Alfie with helping her cope with the illness, especially on her darkest days.

‘Alfie’s a real character, he knows when to be good and when to be naughty! I wouldn't want him to be good all the time because he wouldn't have his character. When he chewed my sun lounger, there were bits of foam covering every piece of the garden. I looked out and thought it had been July! He's had my M&S cushions and my Bertie shoes!’ Ms Marsh-Pitt said, adding that she would ‘really like this story to encourage people to think about rehoming - there are lots of dogs that need new homes and, if I can do it with all my ailments, then anyone can!’

Prematurely grey

Alfie is a young dog who turned prematurely grey after being kept in a pen and neglected by his original owners. RSPCA director of animal welfare promotion John Rolls said: ‘The public have voted Alfie the nation's top dog and he really deserves the accolade. The gentle giant is a fabulous example of the loving, caring companions rescue dogs can make. There are thousands of dogs waiting for a second chance at rescue centres around the country, so please visit your local centre first if you are considering adding an animal to your family.’

The other regional finalists were, Sally (North West regional winner). She’s a big, loveable, bedraggled crossbreed, rehomed from the RSPCA Southport Animal Home. Sally now does great work as a Pets As Therapy (PAT) dog. Lucky (South East regional winner). Lucky was rescued as a stray puppy barely surviving in Greece. After a lot of work by her new owners, she is now a happy, confident and loving dog. Molly (South and South West regional winner). Molly’s a five-year-old Rottweiller who was abandoned and left to die before she was rescued. She now lives with her new owners in Devon. Donie (East regional winner). He’s a retired racing greyhound who’s career was all washed up by the age of three and unwanted. Donie’s new owners now describe him as the “perfect companion”. Mikka (Wales and West regional winner). He’s a three-year-old Lurcher who was found close to death and abandoned in a park. A local vet saved his life and both he and his new owners are eternally grateful.