Sweet ending as Fudge made homeless by paramilitaries starts to settle in with new owners
A dog that was made homeless after paramilitaries forced her owners out of their house has found a new home.
At the grand old age of 12, brown collie mix Fudge faced the prospect of never being rehomed after her owners were forced to leave her behind.
She and her dog companion Sam and three cats were left behind in the garden of the Newtownards home, surviving thanks to the generosity of neighbours who were able to feed them over the fence.
Their owners, who were put out of their house in the Westwinds Estate last August because they were in a mixed marriage, contacted a voluntary animal rescue group which stepped in to help the abandoned animals.
Andrea Meeke from Lost And Found Pets North Down went to the house with Councillor Jim Menagh and the animals were taken in by foster carers.
After the charity launched the search for a 'forever home' for the dogs, hundreds of people got in touch. "Quite a few people were interested, but nobody was suitable," Andrea said.
Because Fudge was used to being with Sam, one vital requirement was that she would need a home with another quiet dog for company.
"Because she'd been with Sam, they had always been together. But now they have grown less dependent on each other as they have been in foster care with other dogs," Andrea said.
She put out the call again in early January and thankfully a number of suitable potential owners got in touch.
Now Fudge is happily settling in with her new family, having been introduced on Friday.
She is living with a family of five - four adults and 14-year-old terrier Tilly.
"She's getting on great - we're keeping in touch with her family," Andrea said.
"They have taken her out to the shops and bought her a new harness and they're settling in together - it will take time."
Fudge's original owners are said to have received repeated threats to their safety and attacks on their home over the school where they had chosen to enrol their children.
After the threats took a turn for the worse, they were forced to move out quickly and were unable to find anywhere that would allow pets.
They faced a long wait to get a new house and reluctantly had to ask Lost And Found Pets North Down to rehome them. Now it's black Labrador mix Sam's turn to find a new home, Andrea said.
He is neutered, vaccinated, fully health checked, house trained and is good with cats and other dogs.
Sam is a little nervous with men and needs an owner who has the time and patience to help him to settle.
"The response to Fudge's situation was truly heartwarming.
"We had a massive response and we were able to get the list of possible loving new homes down to four after a long slog," Andrea said.
"In dog years Tilly and Fudge will have a combined age of 182 but there's life in the old dogs yet. She has literally been grinning.
"The other dog Fudge lived with for two years before her family's trauma is still looking for a permanent home so if people can help us help little Sam, please contact our Facebook page."