There’s no dog that deserves an idyllic happy ending more than abuse victim Colin.
The Staffordshire bull terrier was deliberately scalded and dumped in a Rotherham canal – in one of the worst cases of animal cruelty rescue staff have ever seen.
But the seven-year-old’s life has been turned around in the four months since, thanks to the Sheffield Rain Rescue charity and a caring new owner.
Colin is now raiding kitchen bins, scoffing blackberries, and larking around in Morecambe with ex-nurse Mari Preston.
Mari, aged 55, was touched by Colin’s plight after seeing an appeal to help pay for his vets’ fees in a dog magazine.
She told The Star: “I was horrified, this kind of thing seems to be happening all the time.
“Colin was on my mind all the time, and I couldn’t get him off it, so in the end I said I would take him.
“I’ve always had Staffordshire bull terriers so I know the breed really well, and as I am also an ex nurse I was able to give him continuing care. In the first couple of days he was a bit stressed, especially at night, but I bought him a ThunderShirt which is like a big hug and then there was no problem.”
Colin was picked up from Rain Rescue in June after staff there helped him to recover with treatments including reiki healing.
He now has a new playmate in fellow Staffordshire bull terrier Safi and has been trained to sit in the shade to keep the sun off his scar where he was scalded.
Every day he has Manuka honey and suncream rubbed into the wound and on especially hot days he also wears a vest for extra protection.
But he has yet to experience the sea as dogs are not allowed on local beaches between May and September. Mari added: “Colin has fitted in perfectly – he hasn’t got a bad bone in his body and is a real softy.
“He’s definitely got a mischievous streak in him though and is a really fun dog.
“He raids bins and basically emptied the kitchen one, so now I put everything outside. But that’s the only bad thing I have come across in him!
“Colin also loves blackberries. I have some at the bottom of my garden and he goes down every day.
“The other day I thought, ‘Oh my God, what’s happened to his scar?’, but it was just covered in blackberry juice.”
Rain Rescue, which has seen a surge in animal cruelty cases, relies on donations so it can continue to help dogs like Colin.
Its next fundraising event, a 1980s ‘Roxy Live’ concert at the O2 Academy on October 19, is aiming to raise a massive £20,000.
Acts lined up include Sonia, T’Pau, Dr & the Medics, Black Lace and Pat Sharp.
Visit www.o2academysheffield.co.uk to buy tickets for the event.