Dog-lovers go the extra mile for rescue dog who has been waiting more than three years for a home of his own

Two dog-lovers are going the extra mile for a special rescue dog this Christmas in the hope of helping him finally find a forever home.

Nicola Alty and her partner David Baines started volunteering at Dogs Trust Merseyside four years ago after their own dog, Boo, passed away. Since then they have walked hundreds of miles with four-legged friends from the centre and seen hundreds of dogs happily head home with new families, but one dog who they’ve built a special bond with is seven-year-old Lurcher, Toby.

Nicola, who will be volunteering at the centre over Christmas along with David, says: “Toby arrived at the rehoming centre in 2018 after a change in his owners’ circumstances meant they could no longer keep him, and since then he has been waiting to find his perfect home.

“Every time we volunteer, we walk him and then last year we arranged to bring him home for a sleepover to see how he was in a home environment. Since then, he has come home with us several times and he is the perfect houseguest. He can be quite silly and excitable, which is lovely to see, but he soon calms down. One of his favourite things is sitting on your knee, even though he’s quite big! We know he’d make a lovely pet in the right home.”

The team at the Huyton-based rehoming centre say Toby is a sweet boy who enjoys a gentle fuss and, as he has proven with Nicola and David, loves to snuggle on the sofa. He also enjoys chasing after his toys and will happily head out on long walks.

Georgina Lowery, Dogs Trust Merseyside Manager, says: “We aren’t sure why Toby hasn’t found his forever home yet. He loves being with people and as he has proven with Nicola and David, he is adorable and a lovely four-legged friend. He loves to play and thoroughly enjoys his walks, so we really hope it won’t be long before he finds a family of his own.”

More than 80 dogs will be cared for at the centre over Christmas and on Christmas Day they will all enjoy special treats and presents, but Nicola and David say the best present they could have this year is finding out that Toby will be heading off to a new home in the new year.

Nicola says: “Dogs Trust will care for Toby until he finds a family, however long it takes, but we would really like that to be sooner rather than later. We will be spending lots of time with him over Christmas and there’s no doubt we will miss him when it’s time to say goodbye, but all we want is for him to be at the heart of a family of his own for the rest of his life.”

Toby would like to be the only dog in the home, as although he is happy to meet some dogs when he’s out and about he sometimes reacts to them and prefers to keep himself to himself. He would like a home without children, and he will need to have the chance to run off lead in a secure garden or hired space. He would like to meet his new owners at the rehoming centre a few times so that he can build a bond with them.

To find out more about Toby go to www.dogstrust.org.uk. For tips on how to give your dog a happy, relaxed Christmas, and how you can support dogs at Dogs Trust like Toby who are still waiting to find their forever homes, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/christmasadvice