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Local dog becomes poster girl for Kennel Club Breed Rescue Calendar

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A local rescue dog from Melksham has been chosen as one of 12 four-legged stars to feature in the 2020 Kennel Club Breed Rescue calendar.

Compiled from professional ‘pawtraits’, the calendar includes stories of dogs that have overcome the odds and are now settled into their new homes, with sales of the calendar raising funds for the Kennel Club Charitable Trust, one of the largest charities dedicated to dog health and welfare in the UK.

With her rescue journey beginning in Romania, Freya the Saint Bernard is a shining example of what loving home can do for a rescue with a troubled past. Freya was left by her previous owner in a Romanian shelter, with signs of severe neglect and was later brought to the UK by dog rescue charity Saving Saints, which specialises in rescuing larger breeds.

When her new owner, Tom Burke from Melksham, met her for the first time, Freya was very ill. It took several months to nurse her back to health and reach a normal weight for her breed.

Tom said, “Her weight is back to normal and she is less nervous, and far more happy and confident. She didn’t know what toys were and we had to teach her how to play, but she is good as gold now. I think she knows she’s been saved and she never leaves my side. She loves to be brushed, and loves carrots, sweet potato and ice cubes! 

“We’re so proud she’s featuring in the calendar and raising awareness of rescue dogs all over the country, and the organisations which help them.”

Saving Saints specialises in saving many giant and larger breed dogs from across the UK, Europe and Turkey. Speaking of the donation that will be made to Saving Saints following Freya’s inclusion in the calendar, Rachel Wesley, a representative at Saving Saints said,  “We are very grateful for the Kennel Club’s support and this donation will help to fund our behavioural training programme, which helps dogs suffering from trauma.

“Rescuing and rehoming larger breeds can be very challenging, simply due to their size. We hope that having our ambassador, Freya, featured in 2020 Kennel Club Breed Rescue calendar will help to raise awareness about our rescue work and change some misconceptions about larger rescue dogs, who are just as deserving of a forever home.”

Professor Steve Dean, chairman of the Kennel Club charitable trust said, “Through these beautiful photographs we can showcase all these special dogs and their wonderful personalities, while highlighting the importance of the work that rescue welfare organisations do for hundreds of dogs across the country.

“The welfare organisations work so hard to find these dogs their forever homes and give them a second chance at life. The rehoming stories in the calendar highlight the importance of having a breed that matches your lifestyle, as well as the fulfilling nature of providing a home for a dog in need.

“It is so important that when buying a dog, owners do their research thoroughly in order to ensure they are buying the right dog for their lifestyle, to help prevent high numbers of dogs ending up in rescue.”

Freya features alongside 11 other rescue dogs in the Kennel Club Breed Rescue calendar, which was launched at Discover Dogs in London in October and is now on sale at the Kennel Club’s website.

The money raised through the sale of the calendars will enable the Kennel Club charitable trust to continue to make a difference for dogs in 2020, by funding a wide variety of work ranging from research into canine diseases, supporting rescue centres and dog welfare organisations and training support dogs – all of which give dogs and their owners a healthier, happier life.

The Kennel Club Breed Rescue calendar is now available at the Kennel Club online shop for £5.

Picture: Tom and Freya  by Yulia Titovets and Kennel Club.

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