Puppy love is in the air, as Grace, an abandoned stray dog who was born into a life of loneliness and misery in Tunisia, is finally where she belongs - with a loving family in a safe and happy home.
Thanks to an overwhelming response from the community, including readers of the Mercury - a total of £3,500 was raised to help bring eight-month-old puppy Grace to safety in Rutland.
The appeal, launched by 14-year-old, Benjamin Wright, from Oakham, exceeded its target of £2,000, helping to cover the cost of travel to get Grace out of Tunisia and into the UK.
Benjamin said: “I can’t believe she’s finally here - I want to thank everyone who made it possible. The amount of donations we received were fantastic.”
Benjamin and his family, first met Grace whilst on holiday in Tunisia this June. Back then ‘Grace’ - the name they gave the Labrador, was only four-months-old and was an orphan puppy following the brutal killing of her siblings and mother.
During the family’s holiday, Grace was attacked by a gardener in the hotel grounds, but was thankfully saved by a rescue officer from Rescue Animals of North Africa (RANA)- who discussed with the family the option of adopting Grace, to help bring her to safety.
After returning home, Benjamin set to work trying to raise funds to help rescue Grace, including taking on the challenge of a sponsored swim at Rutland Water.
“The support we’ve received has been incredible,” said Benjamin. “Grace has settled in really well over the past two weeks that she’s been here. She enjoys playing with our other dog, Buttons and likes chasing a ball down at the park.”
Benjamin’s mum, Donna will now spend the next few months training Grace to be a ‘pets in therapy dog’.
The RANA charity is delighted that Grace has a new home.
Florence Heath, from RANA, said: “Ben’s dedication to help us save Grace has been an incredible inspiration.
“To see someone this young and so determined to help has given me huge motivation to continue fighting to save the lives of more dogs and cats in North Africa.”