Dog rescue success stories holiday cottages

Canine Critic

Dog rescue success stories

Kate A 17 December 2021

Adopting a rescue dog is a uniquely rewarding experience for both pup and owner. Not only is it an opportunity to give a furry friend a second chance at happiness, but it also teaches the adopter a powerful lesson about love, loyalty, forgiveness and resilience.

There are many reasons why dogs end up in an animal shelter and often it’s about the owner’s personal circumstances, rather than the dog’s fault. Changing jobs, moving house, divorce and health problems can all make dog ownership challenging, and many owners take their dog to a rescue centre with a heavy heart.

Ronnie, Sam, Wisp, Gus and Abby

“Abby is one in a million – but so is every rescue. They are individuals who know their own minds and have their own personalities, but that's exactly why they're so amazing.” – the owner of 2021 Canine Critic, Abby

By adopting from a shelter, you can change an abandoned dog’s whole world – and get a new best friend out of the deal! So, if you’re looking for your four-legged soul mate, some of our former and current Canine Critics who own rescue dogs have shared with us their incredible dog rescue success stories to illustrate how important rehoming is, and why adopted canines can prove to be the most amazing additions to any family.

Meet our rescue dogs

Let’s get to know some of our Canine Critics who found their happy endings after being rehomed from animal shelters.

Canine Critic Abby


Abby is a beautiful Spanish podenco who had a terrible start in life, having been badly neglected and eventually found abandoned at 4 years old. She was completely blind and needed urgent medical care but, following a charity appeal, her surgeries were paid for by kind donations.

After about 6 months, she left Spain bound for the UK and went into foster care with Blind Dog Rescue UK until finding a forever home with her proud pup parents. Abby is now a very pampered pooch who captivates everyone she meets with her big smile and waggy tail.

“I don't think I could even begin to describe the love we both have for this girl! She made us a family, makes us laugh every day, and has inspired so many adventures along the way.” – Abby’s owner

Canine Critic Ronnie


Meet Ronnie, an adorable terrier cross who was adopted when he was 6 months old from RSPCA York. His previous owner had taken him to the vet to be put to sleep but thankfully the vet intervened and phoned the RSPCA who came to his rescue.

It wasn’t long before his big brown eyes attracted the attention of his humans in the rehoming centre, and he now spends his days sniffing out adventure with his pack in the Yorkshire countryside.

“He trusts me, and I trust him, and I understand his emotions and when he is worried or anxious so I can help him if I need to. He is like my little shadow, and he loves being in my company, and me in his!” – Ronnie’s owner

Canine Critics Sam, Wisp and Gus

Sam, Wisp and Gus

This tufty-pawed trio of border collies became 2021’s winners for The Hero category of Canine Critics, as they are all Mountain Rescue Search Dogs for Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team. Sam, Wisp and Gus were adopted from Morgan’s Dog Rescue in Cumbria who specialise in rehoming working dogs.

Sam was found wandering the streets of London as a puppy, while Wisp was born at the centre after her mother was rescued, and Gus was saved when he was a pup from a pound in Ireland. They now love nothing more than feeling the wind through their fur as they bound across the rolling fells and valleys of the North Pennines with their doting owners.

“They have changed our life for the better, we wouldn't be without them; they are our world.” – Sam, Wisp and Gus’s owner

Rescue success stories from the owners of our critics

Now that we’ve got to know these remarkable Canine Critics, let’s discover more about their incredible rescue journeys from their forever families.

Abby on the beach

Why did you choose to rescue Abby?

It just seemed like the natural thing to do, we've both always had a soft spot for wonky-ness, underdogs and animals in need. We'd been talking half-heartedly about getting a puppy but looking back that seems so strange. Knowing the podenco breed and how many end up being abandoned or neglected, I can't imagine we'll ever have anything but rescues now.

Ronnie in the great outdoors

Tell us more about your rescue journey with Ronnie

When we first brought Ronnie home, he was nervous and jumpy at sudden noises or movements. He was also scared of his own reflection and didn’t like being left on his own. It took at least 3 months for him to become fully settled and the biggest challenge was separation anxiety – he didn’t like being left on his own, and he barked and howled as soon as we left the house.

To overcome this challenge, we worked on a training plan and gradually built up the time that we left him alone in the house. It took over a month, but we are now able to leave him for 4 hours without an issue. These days, Ronnie is far more confident and much less jumpy and reactive to noises and his own reflection. He is extremely loving to people he knows well and is very playful.

Sam, Wisp and Gus in the countryside

How have Sam, Wisp and Gus changed your life?

They have changed our life for the better, we wouldn't be without them; they are our world. As they are search dogs, we also have to be able to read and understand what our dogs are telling us through barking and body language. The bond is amazing, Gus is my little black shadow, and I can’t go anywhere without him following.

Abby, Ronnie, Sam, Wisp and Gus

Do you have any dog rescue tips?

Abby’s owner: Try not to have any expectations and be open to whatever comes your way. As long as you've really given it real thought and consideration, if it feels like the right match, it probably is.

Embrace the community that comes with owning a rescue dog. A lot of charities have owner Facebook groups where you can ask for advice, share stories, and get support through any difficult times.

Ronnie’s owner: Contact rescue centres and take their advice on what dog will suit your home and lifestyle. Do not judge a dog on its looks and take a chance on certain breeds you may not have thought of before. And give your rescue dog time to settle in; don’t rush them or expect too much of them.

Sam, Wisp and Gus’s owner: Whether you are rescuing a dog or getting a puppy, you should factor in all the training required. Personally, I think 2 years of good 24/7 training results in a lifetime of pleasant dog ownership (well, training never really stops, does it?). And most importantly, you CAN teach an old dog a new trick.

Battersea Dogs HomeCopyright: Battersea

Ready to rescue your next best friend?

Right now, thousands of dogs and puppies are ready and waiting for their perfect someone to come along. Could it be you?

If you’re ready to start thinking about adopting a dog in the UK, have a read of our Canine Care blogs, which are simply bursting with pet-friendly inspiration. You could also sign up for Battersea’s fortnightly series of pet advice emails, The Battersea Way, packed with everything from behaviour and training tips to DIY dog treat recipes.

And if you’re not quite ready yet to extend your family with a furry member, why not consider donating to a dogs’ home? It’s a great way to make a difference with things you’ve probably got lying around your house!

Ronnie in a holiday cottage

Treat your pack to a dog-friendly holiday in the UK

Our collection of dog-friendly holiday cottages in the UK boasts some tail-wagging retreats where you can bond with your pack and create treasured memories together. From the coast to the countryside, these paw-friendly properties have everything you will need for a relaxing break.

And don't forget to check out our exciting Canine Club, offering a treasure trove of exclusive offers, discounts, expert advice and much more!

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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