Rescue dog saved from agonising death helps pensioner beat lockdown loneliness

Reuben the dog pictured after recovering from being in a horrendous condition in Romania
Reuben (left) has recovered from being in an awful condition in Romania (Picture: Caters News Agency)
A pensioner who rescued a dying street dog from Romania credits her new pet with saving her from lockdown loneliness. Cross breed Reuben was being eaten alive by microscopic mites before dog lover Felicity Hollings, 69, took him in. But now Felicity, who lives alone in Norfolk, says the two-year-old pup has been a joy in keeping her company during the coronavirus crisis – and even says she would not know what to do without him. Reuben, one of numerous dogs on the streets abroad, weighed just 10kg when he arrived in the UK in December 2019.
Explaining that he just ‘wants to cuddle and play’, Felicity said: ‘I was heartbroken when I saw a photo of Reuben on Facebook for the very first time. I couldn’t believe he was still alive. He had really bad mange which left him without hair and covered in scabs.

‘I donated some money towards treatment over there and offered to foster him when he arrived in the UK.’

Pictures show the starving animal in a terrible condition before he was saved by Felicity and given help by vets and he now looks healthy and in peak condition.

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Felicity, who lives alone, admits she would be lonely without her new pet – especially during lockdowns. She added that the ‘eternal puppy’ has kept her on her toes and given her an excuse to get out the house in tough times.

Felicity continued: ’I instantly fell in love with his deep brown eyes and couldn’t let him go.

Reuben was found last December in Romania in an awful condition.
Reuben was found last December in Romania (Picture: Caters News Agency)
Reuben now looks happy and healthy in Norfolk, on the sofa.
Reuben, two, is now happy and healthy in Norfolk (Picture: Caters News Agency)

‘I adopted him after a week and I’m so glad I did.

‘Despite everything he has been through, he is so loving and trusting. All he wants to do is cuddle and play.’

Now the pair go out for daily walks after Reuben was rescued by a UK-based dog rescue charity Rescuing European Animals in Need (REAN).

Each dog rescued from Romania costs £300, while his skin was treated in a local vets for £350. But Felicity says Reuben was worth every penny.

Felicity Hollings with Reuben and another dog.
Felicity Hollings, 69, with Reuben (left) and another dog (Picture: Caters News Agency)
Felicity said: ‘In England they have nice shelters for the dogs with central heating, clean water, food and beds.

‘They’re looked after but the dogs abroad are on the streets and treated like vermin.

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‘It is unimaginable which is why I support the charity and foster when I can.

‘I couldn’t believe how confident Reuben was when I first got him.’

She added: ‘He is like an eternal puppy who wishes he was a lap dog.

‘He always tries to sit on me for a snuggle.

‘I wouldn’t be without him.’

The charity relies solely on donations to cover the shelter and vet costs.

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