Rescued from his cruel owner, retriever Skipper now needs a new home
With his big brown eyes and loving nature, it is hard to understand how anyone could want to harm two-year-old Retriever cross Skipper.
Yet just a few months ago he endured a life of pain in north Belfast until a member of the public witnessed his owner beating him and stopped to intervene.
The brave woman was bitten by the owner as she told him to stop his violence against the dog but because of her bravery, Skipper's life changed forever.
He was delivered by the courts to the charge of Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary owner Lyn Friel, and now enjoys his life greeting visitors to the centre.
Lyn said when he arrived he was covered in cuts and emaciated. But now after careful care he is full of energy and healthy.
But he longs for his own family and a loving home, especially one that is active and has space to expend his energy.
"We absolutely love him, he is a lovely, lovely dog but we don't have the space for him here that he needs, he would just love a home and family of his own," she said. "He would be fantastic for agility and really gets along well with children. I would love to see him get a good home."
Despite his troubled past, Skipper has no fear of humans and is extremely affectionate
Lyn is also caring for a litter of black Lurch/Springer cross pups.
Their mother was a welfare case and had nine pups after being rescued. Two of the adorable brood have already been booked for new homes with the others still available.
Animal sanctuaries across Northern Ireland were full over the Christmas period.
While most domestic animals enjoyed pride of place in their own homes at this special time, hundreds were lonely and having to be cared for in centres along with scores of other animals.
These centres expect to receive even more animals over the next few weeks as pups and other animals bought as presents become seen as a burden to unprepared new owners.
Benvardin Animal Rescue Kennels in Co Antrim is currently hosting 50 dogs and 20 cats.
Among the number are two dogs from one of the latest status breed trends, Alaskan Malamute.
Young Maxie and Roo were part of a litter bred for profit. But the owner left the country and abandoned them.
Charity Co-ordinator Shaun McIntyre explained that although as young pups the breed is small, they grow to become huge. So big in fact that not every sanctuary will take them on.
Meanwhile, Siamese cats may usually be sought-after and extremely valuable, but one, the stunning 18-month-old Indie, had just a heat pad for comfort on Christmas Day this year at Assisi Animal Sanctuary in Conlig, Co Down.
She was given up by her owner as she wasn't able to get along with another cat in the home. Indie would best suit a home with no young children or other animals.
Animal sanctuaries rely on donations from members of the public to be able to continue their work. People can help in other ways, such as giving their time as volunteers in roles which vary from socialising animals to cleaning. Most charities ask for a donation to rehome an animal to cover veterinary bills, spaying and innoculations. To rehome any of the animals featured here, please call Assisi Animal Sanctuary on 028 9181 2622, Benvardin Animal Rescue Kennels on 075 1837 0478, or Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary on 028 9446 5384.