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from death row to therapy dog.

Byline: KATIE SANDS Reporter katie.sands@walesonline.co.uk

FROM a Romanian stray dogs' home, where she was on death row, to becoming a strange bedfellow in West Wales, it's fair to say Lady has had a massive change of fortune.

Those petting the lovable pooch as she tours Carmarthenshire homes as part of therapy dog sessions have no idea of her past.

Lady, a Husky cross, was one of the lucky ones to have been rescued from a pound in Constanta, Romania, where she was destined to be euthanised.

When Ann Cooper, 56, saw Lady's picture on a Facebook appeal by the Laika Fund for Street Dogs, she just felt she had to do her bit for the puppy.

She got in touch with the Laika Fund, which supports dog rescuers operating in Romania, Kosovo, India, Thailand and Belize, who kept her posted on Lady's condition.

Within four weeks of setting eyes on Lady, originally called Blue because of her piercing blue eyes and blue and grey fur tones, she was in the arms of her loving new owner.

Ann lives in Llanfrynach, Pembroke, with her husband John, 57, where they run their business Hi Line Trophies from their home.

Ann also keeps chickens, four cats and five other dogs, so wanted to ensure Lady would be a suitable addition to the family.

She requested video footage to see how she behaved, and was convinced she would fit in.

Mrs Cooper said: "There are so many horrific stories. Dogs when they are caught can be embroiled in a black market of vile abuse, if not beaten to death, set on fire, or having diesel injected into the hearts to do away with the unwanted.

"I recognise that rescuing a dog will not change this cruel world but it changes the world for that dog.

"I picked Lady from photographs through an intermediary taken at the Constanta dog public shelter where she was incarcerated. Lady was rescued and went into a foster home for a couple of weeks before I collected her from Cobham Services."

Clearly just out of puppyhood when she was collected by Ann last April, those who see Lady as a therapy dog would never know the life she had.

Through Volunteering Matters Welcome Friends project Ann has found a number of places to visit. The docile dog is now a weekly visitor to Brook-field House Care Home in St Clears, where resident Clarice Thomas loves nothing more than to share cuddles with Lady for half an hour.

"Within months of arrival in April last year, passing all her veterinary tests, it was clear to me she would make a wonderful pets at therapy dog," said Mrs Cooper.

"Residents' faces just light up when they see her. Lady just loves getting her pets therapy coat on and going to work."

Mrs Cooper has nominated Lady in the assistance dog category, part of the Friends for Life competition at Crufts 2016.

The competition celebrates stories, where dogs have truly earned the title of man's best friend.

Carmarthenshire council third sector broker Sue Smith said anyone with a calm natured dog would be welcome to get in touch about the project on 01269 830061.

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Ann Cooper and her therapy dog Lady, who she adopted after she was rescued from a dogs' home in Romania

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Feb 7, 2016
Words:557
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