A Christmas video featuring a rescue dog who finds a new home near Horsham has touched the hearts of tens of thousands of people.
The video, made by the RSPCA animal charity, tells the real-life success story of how Irish setter Bridie is rescued from squalid conditions to find a loving new home in Southwater.
Dubbed Give A Little Love, the video goes on to show how Bridie helps other rescue animals. Within days of its release, the film was viewed more than 180.000 times on social media.
Bridie was discovered in 2014 with 13 other fully-grown Irish Setter dogs, crammed into squalid puppy cages kept between a filthy kitchen, bathroom and garden shed at the home of a dog breeder.
Said a spokesman: “They were some of the worst conditions the inspector had ever seen. The front of the shed was barricaded shut with wooden pallets and posts, and the dogs had no food, water or bedding.
“Bridie was covered in faeces, had various untreated injuries and her coat was matted and filthy, a far cry from her new life in Southwater with owner Dr Julia Wrathall, who rehomed Bridie.”
Julia, who is chief scientific officer at the RSPCA, and also features in the video as Bridie’s owner said: “Bridie is a fabulous example of how, when shown a little love, animals can be completely transformed,leaving behind the past and giving so much back to us.
“When she was first rescued, Bridie was terrified of the outside world and very nervous and skittish. But she has blossomed into a fantastic, friendly, affectionate, and happy dog. She is a testament both to the inspectors, vets and animal centre staff who rescued and cared for her, and to her own resilience and willingness to give life - and humans - a second chance.”
Bridie’s video features several staff members from the charity’s headquarters in Southwater, along with a number of rescued animals from RSPCA Millbrook Animal Centre in Surrey.
The original song featured on the video, called ‘Give A Little Love’, comes from UK songwriters Alistair Gavan and Lucy Ellie Cooper - who allowed the charity to use it free of charge. It was both written and performed by Alistair, a musician and record producer from Brighton and country singer Lucy, from Haywards Heath, who also works for the charity.
The charity expects to take in somewhere in the region of 19,000 animals this winter.