IT WAS love at first sight.
When Lesley Gray and her husband Russell first saw this handsome fella they fell head over heels.
And now the couple, from Woodseats, have made him a part of the family and given abandoned Baloo a new, loving home.
Baloo was one of the first dogs featured in The Star’s Give Dog a home campaign.
And when Lesley, aged 34, an office support worker, and Russell, 51, a civil engineer, from Todwick Road, saw him they decided to go down to the RSPCA Centre and meet him.
She recalls the black labrador was playing with his toys and immediately found a place in her heart.
But then she was told he was reserved.
Lesley explained: “I had been popping down to the RSPCA for a few weeks to see how I felt about adopting.
“Then I saw him and that was it. But he had been reserved by someone else and although I was pleased for him, I was disappointed too.”
The Grays later learned the reservation had fallen through.
Lesley recalled: “Russell said, ‘come on we’re bringing Baloo home’ and we raced down to the centre.”
Baloo has been renamed Eli and he’s proving a bit of a cheeky chappy.
Said Lesley: “He’s settled in so very well and is already learning to be cheeky.
“The other day I cut some bread and left it on the board for two seconds - when I turned around it had gone.
“He didn’t look at all guilty but gave me a glance which sort of said: ‘Next time put some butter on it’.”
Lesley says once Eli has settled in, she and Russell may even consider adopting another dog from the centre in Attercliffe.
■ Can you give a dog a home?
If so, why not pop down to the RSPCA centre in Stadium Way, Attercliffe.
The centre is open every day except Wednesday from 10am to 4pm, with viewing from 12.30pm to 3.30pm.