The RSPCA is looking for people with patience, perseverance and understanding to offer a home to Ronnie and Patch, two rescue dogs who hadn’t been outside for the first six years of their lives.

Inseparable Ronnie and Patch had never been stroked, worn a collar or gone on a walk when they were discovered living in a property with around 50 other dogs in the north of England last year.

Dedicated staff at the RSPCA’s Lancashire East branch have spent months patiently working with the nervous dogs to gain their trust and help them to overcome their wariness of humans.

Such was the amount of support and rehabilitation they needed, that both dogs were only ready to be considered for rehoming last November, six months after they were rescued. Ronnie has also had a significant amount of dental work carried out, which resulted in most of his teeth being removed.

But sadly the canine companions, who RSPCA staff say find solace in each and must be rehomed together, have had next to no interest from potential adopters and are now the longest-staying residents at the Lancashire East branch’s animal centre in Huncoat near Accrington.

Despite their very specialist needs, staff are confident that the perfect home is out there for them somewhere and they hope that a special appeal will help to generate interest.

Sue Abraham, fostering coordinator for the Lancashire East branch, said, “Ronnie and Patch had received next to no socialisation or training in the first six years of their lives – absolutely nothing had been done with them, they hadn’t even been outside – so they were quite a challenging pair for our centre to take on.

“They had to learn to have a harness and lead put on and get used to being handled and stroked and taken out. And of course this had to be done slowly, carefully and patiently over many, many months; it was literally two steps forward and three steps back at times.

“They’ve made a huge amount of progress with us since and Ronnie will now take treats from your hand, although Patch is more wary and looks to his friend for reassurance.

“They are still nervous and fearful and are definitely not dogs for first-time owners. We need people who can provide an environment where no expectation or pressure is going to be placed on them, with patient, committed owners who will understand that they’re not going to get cuddles from them for many weeks, if not months.

“They will eventually bond with their main carer but it’s going to take time and that’s something that potential adopters will need to be very clear about. We know it’s a big ask, but we’re confident that the perfect home is out there somewhere with people who have got the time and patience to support these lovely dogs on their ongoing journey.”

Ronnie, a Jack Russell-Chihuahua cross, and Patch, a Pomeranian, are more comfortable having outside access where they can be together to come and go as they please, so the centre is ideally looking for people who live on a smallholding or farm or have a conservatory or warm outbuilding. They could live inside, but potential new owners will need to understand that they are likely to have toileting accidents, especially at first.

Because of their timid natures they will need a quiet and calm, adult-only home with no other pets and no visiting children. Potential adopters will also need to make multiple trips to the centre to get to know them. For more details about Ronnie and Patch and the adoption process, please visit the centre’s website.

The RSPCA’s Lancashire East branch is a separate registered charity from the national RSPCA.  The group raises all its own money to run its rehoming centre at Huncoat, which helps find loving new homes for unwanted, neglected and abandoned animals from Burnley, Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn, Pendle and the Ribble Valley.

Visit the branch’s website to see all the animals that are currently up for adoption and to find out more about how to get involved with fostering and fundraising for the centre.


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