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Staffie cross found abandoned in church with heartbreaking “I’m so sorry” note

Dog abandoned in church dog-sad
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The RSPCA are asking the owner of a dog left at the altar of a Blackpool church to contact them after the pup was found tied up with a heartbreaking note.

By Zoe Monk

Published on the 03/01/2020, 12:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:34

Staff at the Sacred Heart Church in Blackpool arrived for work in the morning only to find to their surprise a dog tied up by the alter.

The church is unlocked all day and night and the brindle and white Staffordshire Bull Terrier-cross was left tied up with a handwritten note nearby explaining that his devastated owner could no longer care for the dog.

Difficult decision

The owner, clearly devastated at having to take the decision to leave their dog, urged the reader to "please believe me when I say I haven't done this easily. Life has taken a really bad turn for me and I couldn't imagine him being outside with me cold and hungry. My dog means the world to me and I don't know what else to do."

The note described the dog as being a placid, friendly and loving pup and that he would turn seven on 22 March.

Heartbroken owner

The note explained that the dog has tender front paws and that its owner had been “treating them for about a month now but they are still sore.”

It added: "My heart is broken and I will truly miss him more than words can say. I hope he can be found a new home he deserves. I love you and I am so, so, so sorry. xxxx"

Nicknamed Cracker

The church staff contacted the RSPCA and inspector Will Lamping came to collect the dog who has since been nicknamed Cracker. Mr Lamping said it was clear from the note left with the dog, just how much his owner had loved him.

"Unfortunately, sometimes life can throw some pretty tough things at people and circumstances can drastically change but it's heartbreaking to think that someone out there is missing Cracker and wondering how he is doing," he told the BBC.

Mr Lamping explained that if no-one comes forward to claim Cracker, he will be sent to an RSCPA rehoming centre where staff will begin the search for a new owner for the dog.

Best outcome for all

Since Cracker's story hit the headlines, Street Paws, a charity providing veterinary care and kennel space for homeless people and those in crisis have come forward to say they believe they know the identity of Cracker's owner.

In a statement on Facebook, the charity said:

"You may have read this story circulating about the dog ‘cracker’ in Blackpool. We can confirm that this dog Rooney is known to Street Paws as we have supported with kennel space in the last year for his owner. We would like to thank everyone for their concern and would like to reassure we are liaising with RSPCA inspectors to ensure the best possible outcome for him. This includes reaching out in Blackpool with homeless service providers to locate mum and offer support. She loves this little dog very much so the fact she has found no other option means she's in a very low place.”

Supporting the homeless

With only around 10% of homeless shelters currently allowing dogs on-site, unfortunately, Rooney/Cracker’s story is not unusual.

“This very sad story, unfortunately, is not uncommon,” Street Paws added. “There are far too few options for rough sleepers with dogs. This is why, as a charity, our focus for 2020 is to install more kennels into hostel grounds so that there is a choice other than to give up on your best friend.”

Any pet owners struggling financially to care for their pet should contact their vet, a local rescue centre or a charity like the RSPCA who are there to help.