Lola, the homeless Antrim pooch who got a new leash of life as Scruffts champion
Meet Lola – the plucky little poodle who has triumphed over adversity.
The dog was once found alone, homeless and wandering the streets of Antrim – but after a remarkable turnaround in fortune, she's now a champion.
Lola, who was nicknamed 'wonky tail' after she was found abandoned, recently won the UK Scruffts Child's Best Friend title in London.
The poodle competed at Stormont in May showing up to 40 competitors in the category Child's Best Friend how to walk to ring. Adding to her success, just two weeks ago, entering against 16 regional finalists at Earl's Court, Lola is now the UK's Child's Best Friend, gaining qualification for Crufts.
But life hasn't always been kind to the newly crowned award-winning mongrel.
An Antrim Borough Council dog warden picked up the three-year-old pooch in the town in December 2012.
The mystery dog was found matted all over and was initially believed to be male until she was shaved.
She had no chip, tag or licence. Usually that information would give an insight into her whole history, but officials were stumped with no clue who she was or where she had come from.
Lola was nicknamed wonky tail because of her furry, curly tail.
Taken to Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary, the poodle mix was given a new lease of life and, within a month, a loving home. One year on she's a wonderful winner, transformed from "scruffy mongrel to pedigree champ", according to her adoring owner.
Trevor Graham (40) spotted Lola in a pen at one of the sanctuary open days in a "strange pink coat" and rushed home to tell his family "there's a cracking wee dog up in mid-Antrim. You need to see her – she's brill".
Speaking to the Belfast Telgraph, the father-of-four explained how the family fell instantly in love with the rejected animal.
"We went up, took her out for a walk and the kids just loved her. She's definitely a unique wee dog. It's hard to even say what type she is, she's the strangest cross breed I've ever seen. I would call her a 'poodle mix', but it's impossible to tell.
"She just fitted into the family like a glove. The kids absolutely love her to bits. Sometimes I think they may love her more than me," he joked.
"She loves munching on chicken, but anything she does has a right bit of character to it, like up on the settee with me last night eating cucumber.
"Now, I've never known a dog to eat cucumber before, but there you go."
Mr Graham, who lives in Randalstown, has worked as a mobile dog groomer and washer for 15 years.