Cute pup left to die in cold given best Christmas gift: a new home
A puppy has found a new home after being abandoned and left overnight in the freezing cold.
The Dogs Trust in Ballymena was inundated with calls and visits after Gretal was dumped just days before Christmas.
The charity said the dog had since been reserved, meaning she will soon be in a new home with loving owners.
The eight-week-old puppy was discovered by a member of the public in Craigavon early in the morning.
It is believed she was abandoned the night before, left to fend for herself in freezing temperatures.
The hapless pup was rescued when a passer-by accidentally stumbled across her.
She was then moved to Craigavon Civic Centre before being taken to Armagh dog pound by the local warden.
When it became apparent that the pet had been deliberately neglected, Gretal was moved to the Dogs Trust in Ballymena, where staff have been doting on her ever since.
The cross-breed will not be going to her new home until the new year, however, which means that while most people will be tucking into their turkey dinner on Christmas Day, staff at the Dogs Trust will be spending their day looking after the traumatised puppy.
Sarah Hickie, who cared for Gretal at the dog pound, explained: "We believe that Gretal had been purchased as a family pet, but for some reason she was found wandering the streets on her own.
"She remained in our care for five days, but no one came forward to claim her."
Gretal will continue to be cared for by the Dogs Trust until she is ready to move into her new home.
Oonagh Phillips, the re-homing centre manager at the animal sanctuary, said it was highly likely that Gretal was bought as a Christmas present, only to be dumped once the reality of ownership set in.
"Our centre looks after thousands of abandoned and unwanted dogs every year, but it still shocks us to think that someone could abandon a puppy so callously," she added.
Dogs Trust CEO Adrian Burder said: "After nearly 40 years of highlighting our slogan, a dog is for life not just for Christmas, it's clear to see (the problem) is still as prevalent today as it was back in 1978, because many dogs continue to be bought on impulse and sadly cast off when their appeal wears thin."
Every year the charity is left picking up the pieces when the thrill of getting a new dog gives way to the responsibility of ownership and unwanted pets are handed into re-homing centres in the weeks after the holiday.
The Dogs Trust urged all potential buyers to consider the long-term ramifications before purchasing a pet.