A weeks-old puppy abandoned in a cardboard box on a public common is safe and well in a new home thanks to caring animal rescue staff.

The then six-week-old defenceless pup, who was far too young to be away from his mother, may not have made it had she not been discovered by a passer-by two weeks before Christmas.

A concerned dog walker took the tiny Jack Russell terrier, who had no food, water or a blanket to keep warm, to the nearby Blue Cross rehoming centre in Kimpton, Hertfordshire.

Staff at the centre named her Betty before she was transferred to Burford where Animal Welfare Assistant Jade Griffiths fell in love with her and didn’t hesitate to take her into her home for Christmas. 

Witney Gazette:

Jade said: “She was such a tiny little thing, but she had so much personality and sass already – a typical terrier. I knew about her history and how she was found, so I endeavoured to give her the best first Christmas she could have. 

“Betty slotted in famously with my cat and three dogs at home, as if she had always lived with them, and within minutes she found her best friend in Kingston my youngest dog. 

“We made sure she had a Christmas Eve box, Christmas presents to open and a small bit of cooked turkey for her dinner. 

“It was a pleasure to have her in our home over the festive period, even though toilet training and crate training were still in progress, considering her less than desirable start in life she did so well. We will always remember this dinky girl, and it was such an honour to be part of her journey.”

Betty had already had her tailed docked when she arrived at the Burford centre.

Rachel Hazley, animal behaviour co-ordinator, said: “It is really sad given she was only about six weeks old."

She was also underweight and had a lopsided gait when she walked.

Witney Gazette:

A vet diagnosed a low-grade patella luxation, a very common condition in small dogs, where the kneecap dislocates or moves out of its normal position which isn’t thought to be painful. 

“Some dogs who continue to show signs are candidates for surgery and don’t go on to have any problems at all, others are just managed with appropriate treatment later on in life," explained Rachel. "Dogs that have the condition shouldn’t be used to breed, similar to conditions like hip dysplasia.”

Betty went off to her new forever home in South Wales just a few days after Christmas.

Her new owner reported: “She's settled right in, and has claimed her spot next to the radiator. Betty is very spoiled and I think she knows it. She's definitely keeping us on our toes.”

Blue Cross is celebrating 125 years of helping sick, injured and homeless animals this year. To find out more or to make a donation, visit bluecross.org.uk