Readers open hearts and homes to stray dogs

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The Independent Online

Jessie the foxhound spent much of yesterday, as she often does these days, romping around the countryside on the Welsh borders with her new friend, Blascun, a labrador.

Jessie the foxhound spent much of yesterday, as she often does these days, romping around the countryside on the Welsh borders with her new friend, Blascun, a labrador.

The hillsides near Llanveynoe on the edge of the Black Mountains are a long way from Battersea Dogs Home in London, where she was cooped up for more than a year.

Laura Stevenson, 32, read about her plight in The Independent, one of eight dogs profiled. All were in the home's special long-term rehabilitation unit, which houses dogs with personality or physical problems that require special attention.

Ms Stevenson was one of a number of Independent readers who contacted Battersea to offer new homes for the dogs. Benji, a rottweiler/labrador cross has also found a new home.

Anne O'Brien, head of the rehabilitation unit, said: "Battersea is delighted two of our long-term residents have been found homes.''

"Jessie's got such a sweet nature and she's been well trained by Battersea,'' said Ms Stevenson, a medical researcher.

Jessie's move to Wales is a return to her birthplace. She was taken to Battersea last September after she was found wandering on the Black Mountains. She was three months old and may have been cast out by a hunt because her gangly legs made her unsuitable for chasing foxes.

She had to go to rehab because she found it difficult to socialise and had begun to bully other dogs; she also suffered stomach problems, which have now cleared up.

Jessie lives in a specially adapted outhouse with Blascun and Edgar, a corgi/Jack Russell cross and has access to the four acres of land that surround the home that Ms Stevenson shares with Rachel Sharp, a wildlife trust manager.

Out of the many Independent readers who contacted Battersea, 20 who could not be matched with the rehabilitation dogs, went on to adopt other dogs from its normal kennels.

On Monday, the home will release a charity record, Rockford's Christmas Morning, based on the home's animated canine mascot, created by Matthew Sweetapple.

STILL LOOKING FOR HOMES

Leo, the lonely greyhound

Taken to Battersea when he became too old to race. Has to wear a muzzle while out and, although gentle, would prefer a home without cats or small children.

Rusty, the springer spaniel

An 18-month-old Welsh springer taken in as a stray. Unhappy at being touched by strangers, needs an owner familiar with working dogs, without children.

Brooke, the black and white nipper

A terrier cross found as a stray. Has had no real training, lacks manners and likes to nip. A high-energy dog needing a rural location.

Alfie, the tearaway terrier

A two-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier cross who was taken in by his owner, who found him too boisterous. A happy dog, he needs training, which he loves.

Manson, the waif

Another Staffordshire bull terrier, found by a dog warden. He gets stressed if he is unable to hold things in his mouth, but is bright and intelligent.

Mason, the stand-offish shar-pei

A big dog who can be aloof, but can bond once he gets to know you. Suitable for a large home, but not one with small children.

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