A rescue dog, who suffered abuse at the hands of his previous owner, has been given a new lease of life – and a starring role on TV.
Billy, an American Boxer cross, was adopted by David Billington from Penwortham, who had no idea about the previous heartache the 12-month-old pooch had suffered before he came to the Preston and District Branch of the RSPCA.
David, 62, said: “I went along to the centre because my daughter’s dog has always liked me, so I thought I’d get one of my own to keep me company.
“I really just went to have a look, but as soon as I saw Billy, we just clicked.
“He came running over to me like he had known me for years.”
Billy had already been filmed by Channel 5 for their programme, Dog Rescuers, and it was only when David received a phone call from the centre to see if the TV company could do a follow-up with him that he was told about the programme.
He said: “I didn’t know he was a rescue dog. I just thought he had been taken to the centre by somebody, I had no idea he had been abused.
“We’re the best of mates now and he does nearly everything I ask him but we’re still in training.
“The only real lasting damage is that he’s a little more wary of men than women, but he’s a cracking creature.”
Jess Towress, animal care assistant who looked after Billy at the centre, said: “When Billy arrived he was covered in bruises, which were apparent through his white coat, he had a very sad look and held his head down.
“He was timid and very nervous and when he would walk to the field he would then just stand at the gate waiting to go back to his kennel.
“It was like he didn’t know how to be off lead.”
Jess added: “As time went on, the staff continued to work with him and tried to build his confidence. He became happier and happier and began to love the attention and the time out of his kennel, even getting excited when he saw the staff and was ready for a walk and a cuddle.
“In the time he was at the centre, Billy soon became a staff favourite. He soon showed what a fantastic pet he would become and, when he left, he went with his head up high and his tail wagging away!”
Nowadays Billy enjoys walks in the countryside with David, who said: “It’s just me and him now, a proper little team.”
l Dog Rescuers is set to air later this year.