Roly, a Hope Rescue Assisted Adoption dog, has been selected as a finalist in the Rescue Animal of the Year category. Roly was nominated because he survived an appalling start to his life, being born in the squalor of a puppy farm in West Wales - if it wasn’t for Hope Rescue, Roly’s life would have ended there before it had barely begun. Since then he has been living with a number of life-limiting conditions but despite everything, he embraces life with spirit and courage. In many ways he epitomises the challenges that many of our Hope dogs have to face and of course, they are all winners in our eyes!
The award winners will be announced at a star-studded awards ceremony in London on Wednesday 26th November.
Here is Roly’s story:
“Roly, a small chocolate Labrador, is our very own ‘Canine Commando’ – his courage, resilience and strength of character make him a truly special little dog and one who wins the hearts of everyone he meets.
He was born in the squalor of a puppy farm in Wales, the runt of a large litter. Separated from his litter-mates, caged alone and terrified in the dark, he waited to die, a puppy that was never meant to survive. Taken to be put to sleep before he was 3 months old, he was saved by Hope Rescue and placed in one of their foster homes. His life-limiting health problems soon became apparent: they included kennel cough and lungworm infections, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, shoulder disease, a deformed jaw and stunted growth. His battle to survive was just beginning!
Roly was content in his foster home but needed a family to call his own. Sadly no-one wanted to take him on with so many issues and an uncertain future. Finally, he joined our family as a foster but we soon loved him unconditionally and decided that he should stay! Thanks to Hope Rescue he was rehomed as an Assisted Adoption, which means that he will be supported and his vet bills paid for the rest of his life, however long that may be.
Roly deserves an award because despite being a living example of the greed of puppy farmers, he has given so much back already in his short life. He has been used in a number of campaigns to educate people about the welfare and emotional costs of puppy farming, and featured in a TV current affairs programme that investigated puppy farms in Wales.
For 2 years Roly also fulfilled a special role as a mascot helping injured Royal Marines. They took him to their hearts as like them, he is facing life-long issues, and epitomises the most important parts of the Commando Ethos: ‘Courage – Determination – Fortitude’. Roly completed a number of challenges to raise money for Hope Rescue to help other dogs in need. Amongst his endeavours, he completed asler an ascent of Mount Snowdon in Wales. He was an absolute star and walked the whole way, with a spring in his step and a wagging tail. Even the Royal Marines were impressed by the performance of their very own Canine Commando. He also ‘yomped’ across Dartmoor and has undertaken other fundraising events.
Despite his many problems, Roly is a happy soul, full of joy and with a real zest for life. He has an engaging personality and is a firm favourite at the vets. Now at only 4 years old, he is facing surgery to replace his deteriorating joints but we know he will tackle this as he does every challenge life throws at him, with a wag of his tail, a lop-sided smile and determination to enjoy his life to the full. Roly is a true inspiration to others and we feel so privileged to share our lives with him.”