RSPCA highlight heart breaking stories behind real-life stars of Christmas film

The RSPCA shines a light on the rescue animals who star in this year’s charity Christmas film.

Poppy the Labrador-cross

Already the film- featuring Poppy the Labrador cross and Frankie, the grey kitten alongside Shetland pony Tink – has racked up more than 190,000 views.

Frankie, the tiny grey kitten, was discovered after he wandered into a flat in Catford, South East London, at just four weeks old. The small kitten was emaciated, lethargic and dehydrated.

He was taken to RSPCA Putney Hospital in London where he was put on fluids and needed feedings round the clock as he was so young. Vet nurse Emma Turner fostered the little cross-eyed kitten so she could keep up his regular feeds and a few weeks ago, he was rehomed.

Frankie has now been named Lucio by his new owner, Rebecca Da Re who lives in Barnes, London. She said: “I think Lucio knew from the moment we collected him that he was going to his forever home, he was so calm and slept on me for the whole journey home. He has settled in so well, he’s the perfect addition to our family.”

Poppy went into the care of RSPCA when she was 18-months old after her elderly owners could no longer cope with her energy and size.

She was rehomed by RSPCA South Godstone Animal Centre in Surrey just a few weeks later, but sadly was returned to the rescue centre when she was five-years old.

Jo Davies and animal care assistant, who has worked at South Godstone for 13 years, remembered Poppy from a few years before and offered to foster her so she wouldn’t have to go back into kennels.

Jo said: “Poppy fitted in so well that I decided to adopt her myself. She’s such an intelligent dog which means she can become mischievous when she doesn’t get the exercise and stimulation she needs. I started doing heel work to music and with training and lots of exercise, it helped her to calm down a lot and also helped us to bond.

“At 12-years old she’s a docile, older dog now who helps lend a paw socialising foster kittens when I hand-rear them and other dogs. She’s worth her weight in gold.”

Poppy was working her part-time job as RSPCA’s South Godstone’s meeter and greeter when she was talent spotted to be in the RSPCA’s Christmas film.

The video – made in house by the RSPCA’s broadcast team and starring staff and friends who gave up their own time for filming – features a cover of Starship’s Nothing gonna stop us now’ sung by RSPCA press officer and singer Lucy Ellie.

It follows the story of Tink, the Shetland Pony who dreams of becoming one of Santa’s reindeer and delivering gifts of comfort, care and safety to her fellow rescue animals. Tink visits different animal centres with her cat delivering gifts of comfort, care and safety to the animals in need. Poppy and Frankie can be spotted on the Christmas film receiving presents from Tink.

To watch the film you can visit