Every year the RSPCA rescues thousands of animals from terrible conditions – where many have either been the victims of neglect, starvation or even physical abuse. They are taken in to our centres up and down the country where our kind-hearted staff nurse them back to health in the hope of finding them a loving new home.

Lance is just one of the 11,000 dogs rehomed by the RSPCA last year, most of whom have suffered abuse, but he was one of the lucky ones and now his new owners, the Greenway family from York, have spoken about the joys of bringing a rescue dog into their lives. It was while flicking through the RSPCA’s annual prosecutions report that the Greenways recognised their own dog Lance staring back up at them.

The family from York had no idea what a terrible ordeal their new pet had been through, and were shocked to see just how awfully he had been treated by his former owners.

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Photo by RSPCA

The Greenways adopted Lance from the York RSPCA Animal Home, and had only brief information about his background. But as the family looked through the RSPCA prosecution report they immediately spotted the dog that had now become very much part of their family.

From the report the family learned that Lance had previously been called Buster and was removed from his previous owners in 2012. When he was found, Lance weight just 13.35kg, less than half of the normal weight of 30kgs (pictured left). The vet commented that it was exceptionally rare to find an animal this emaciated still alive.

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Photo by RSPCA

The Greenways had set out on a mission to find a cat-friendly lurcher after their previous RSPCA rescue dog died. By chance, one of the staff at the York animal home thought of Lance, who had been happy with her cats when she cared for him at home during his convalescence. He passed the cat test and went home with the family in September 2012.

Vanessa Greenway said: “Lance was scared of even the slightest noise at first. He and our cat Mitzi soon got used to each other but the first few months were hard with some problems – lots of accidents as he wasn’t house trained and chewing window sills to name but a few.

“However, once we saw a behaviourist, who gave us some fantastic ideas he now looks forward to us going out so he can have his shoe box of treats and stuffed bones to occupy him. We usually find him asleep on the sofa when we get back (pictured right). He loves his sleep too and is the first to bed and the last one up in the morning!”

Photos by Vanessa Greenway

Lance also had a metal plate in his leg as it had been broken at some point and as soon as he started having long runs the plate started to rub and came loose so it had to be removed earlier this year. He wasn’t allowed to run for a few weeks but is now back to running normally.

His previous owners were both disqualified from keeping animals for 10 years.

Vanessa added: “Lance still has his moments but is so funny and playful and just loves a cuddle. He is much braver with strangers. We went to the York RSPCA summer fair a few weeks ago – and he even remembered some of the staff, and was so happy to see them.

“It has just taken time which I think is the key to taking on a rescue dog.”

RSPCA inspector Aislinn Balderston took the original call and found Lance in his poor state. She said: “I’m so pleased to see Lance happy in his new home – it’s what makes this job so rewarding.

“The story of every dog rescued by the RSPCA is, in its own way, just as heartrending and uplifting as Lance’s and we hope people will be inspired to give a rescue dog a forever home.”

Lance’s story is just one of the incredible and often heartbreaking stories featured in this year’s prosecutions report – it can be viewed at http://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/prosecution/report

To find your ideal rescue dog partner visit the RSPCA’s site or DogsBlog.com today and browse the profiles, stories and videos of thousands of dogs across the UK online.

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