Emotional moment 'walking skeleton' dog who survived by eating toothpaste is reunited with her rescuer two years on | The Sun

THIS is the heartwarming moment a rescued dog is reunited with the charity worker who saved her life. 

The emotional footage shows Honey’s amazing reaction at meeting RSPCA inspector Rachel Leafe two years after she found the pet “hours away from death” in an empty, squalid home. 

Honey had been abandoned in a filthy home in Derbyshire, where the Husky-type cross survived by drinking toilet water and eating toothpaste. 

Rachel, who reached the poor pooch by getting into the house through a kitchen window, with help of the local police, described Honey as a “walking skeleton".

Rachel said: “She was grossly underweight. The outline of every rib could be seen through the fur, as could the spine and hip bones.

“The vet told me she was hours away from death.”


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At the time of her rescue, in January 2020, Honey weighed just 1.3st – less than a third of the 4.7st a healthy dog of the same breed would weigh. 

This month The Sun is highlighting the shocking rate of animal cruelty in the UK.

Reports to the RSPCA’s animal cruelty hotline increase during the summer months – meaning the charity is likely to deal with an average of three calls every minute. 

In July and August, the charity expects to receive around 134,000 calls per month, many of which are from members of the public reporting instances of animals being beaten, mutilated, abandoned and killed – an increase of 44,000 per month.

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Dogs are four times more likely than any other pet to be abused.

And with lockdown prompting a spike in dog ownership, coupled withthe rising cost of living, the RSPCA is bracing for a spike in suffering over the next couple of months.

Two years after her rescue, Honey and Rachel were reunited – and Honey couldn’t have been happier. 

Rachel said: “I have heard that sometimes dogs will seem to recall and recognise those who have helped them in the past  – and it really did seem like Honey remembered me and what had happened.

“As soon as I appeared through the door she ran up to me and gave me an amazing welcome. She was jumping up, kissing my face and wouldn’t stop fussing with me. It was very emotional as I formed such a close bond with her at the time.”


THE SUN is joining forces with the RSPCA to stamp out cruelty against animals.

Every day this summer, the animal welfare charity expects to receive an extra 1,413 calls to its cruelty hotline – that's three EVERY MINUTE.    

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer at the RSPCA, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and no one wants to think of an animal being cruelly treated but sadly the reality is that every day animals are victims of deliberate cruelty and thankfully the RSPCA is there to help them. "

The RSPCA is the only charity rescuing animals and investigating cruelty.

You can help their work by donating to support their frontline rescue teams, so they can help reach and care for animals in need. 

Just £6 can help feed a dog in the charity’s care for a day, while £10 could pay for bandages for a cat or dog.

You can help by donating at www.rspca.org.uk/crueltystop.

The difference in Honey was clear to see. 

Rachel said: “When I rescued her I had to gain access through a kitchen window and I managed to reach down over the cupboards and she was so light I managed to lift her free with one hand.”

It was revealed in a court hearing that the owner had moved away and abandoned Honey. 

The Husky-type cross has since been adopted by Linda Merrill, 58, who works in hospital pharmacy, and her husband John, 59. 

Linda said: “Honey’s past is firmly behind her now and she enjoys life so much.

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“I am in no doubt Honey recognised her rescuer and knew she owed her life to her – she was completely besotted and throughout her time visiting our home, Honey was her constant companion giving her lots of love and fuss. It was like she was trying to say ‘I remember what you did and I am so grateful’.

“I’m so glad the RSPCA rescued her. Thanks to their hard work, Honey has a fantastic new life and we wouldn’t be without her.”

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