Sweet... Fudge finally finds a home of own after living in shelter for six years
Fudge the dog spent more than half her life in a shelter - but with a little help from the Belfast Telegraph she finally has a home to call her own.
The 10-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier had been at Mid-Antrim animal sanctuary for almost six years, but after an appeal by volunteers and a story in this newspaper, she has been adopted by the Todd family.
Volunteers were baffled that Fudge had been waiting for so long for a home as they said that she had a lovely nature and was very intelligent.
After she was surrendered as an unwanted pet in April 2010, she developed a close bond with many of the volunteers including retired man Edward Holmes (69), who came to walk her a few times a week.
Sadly, none of the volunteers were in a position to offer her a home and the sanctuary launched a special appeal to find her a new family at the end of last year.
In January the Belfast Telegraph featured Fudge's appeal and it had hundreds of shares on social media.
Last month Sarah Todd went to the sanctuary looking for a new dog. She was particularly interested in Staffordshire bull terriers, and Fudge seemed to be exactly what she was looking for.
Sarah said: "I was looking for a Staffy and I went up and I was just geared towards her and we just decided to give her a go. She's a super little dog. I liked her straight away and she seemed to like me."
Sarah took Fudge home to live with her parents Francis and Catherine outside Antrim just over six weeks ago, but she has already settled in brilliantly.
She has picked the perfect spot by the fire, and as the only pet in the house she is enjoying getting lots of attention.
"We have a wee bond now," Sarah said. "She'll come and lie at my feet when I'm on the sofa and I'll just lie and stroke her. She loves going out with me in the car as well. It almost sends her to sleep. She loves to follow me around the house and she's great company.
"She's a very chilled-out sort of dog but very affectionate and very bright. We're really glad that we got her. You'd think she'd been here for ever.
Francis said: "She's reached a point now where she guards the house. She knows this is her house. When she first arrived, she was very quiet but now she starts to bark if she hears something to alert us. It's like she's trying to protect us.
"She's very intelligent and she's picked everything up just like that. She's fitted into the routine of this house really well. She's a very happy little dog and we couldn't do without her now."
Although the Todds weren't initially aware of the appeal for Fudge, they had heard of the story.
"We did hear she had been in the Belfast Telegraph and that made us curious about her. It was beneficial for her to have that article because it got so many more people interested and some who didn't adopt her have looked at other dogs in the sanctuary, so she's helped some of her friends too," Francis added.
The family said that following their experience they would encourage others to adopt from the sanctuary.
Francis said: "Mid-Antrim were very efficient and friendly. They really researched us and the dogs to make sure we fitted together. The whole process was pretty easy."
For more information on Mid-Antrim Animal Sanctuary, visit http://www.midantrimanimalsanctuary.org/