A kind-hearted family who rescued a stray blind dog have given it a permanent home – after they fell in love with it while on holiday in Greece.
Labrador-Beagle cross Zak was spotted hiding behind a bin by the Robinson family on the first day of their holiday on the Greek island of Zakynthos.
Mum Jo, 40, approached the terrified pooch, which should signs of abuse and had part of its tail cut off, but it ran off.
The family spent the next few days searching the island in the hope of tracing the dog.
Days before leaving for home, they finally found Zak and used a belt as a collar to prevent it escaping again.
They sneaked him into their hotel room and fed and washed it before arranging for the animal to be transported to their home in Oakwood, Derby.
More than three weeks later, Zak finally arrived with a ‘dog passport’ last Wednesday (25/7).
Zak – named after Zakynthos where it was found – is thought to be around a year old and although underweight, the vet said it is generally fit and healthy.
The family contacted local charity Healing Paws Dog Rescue for help, who arranged his transport for £600.
The trip, via Italy, Germany and France, took three days but Zak finally arrived at its new home which it shares with with Jo, husband Paul, their son Sam and fellow rescue dog Teddy.
Jo, a solicitor, said: “If we hadn’t have saved him he would probably have died on that island.
“He was so small, you could see his rib cage and bones, and he was petrified of everything.
“We couldn’t just leave him there to die.
“He must’ve been so scared to be in a cage for three days travelling, but now he’s back home I’m sure he’ll start to relax.
“We were all so happy to see him arrive safe.
“We all gave him a good welcome, including our other dog Teddy, and now we’re giving him lots of cuddles, food and rest.”
Police officer Paul, 48, said: “There’s lots of stray dogs in Zante, but Zak was very difficult to ignore.
“Most other dogs were roaming about and seemed to be enjoying themselves on the beach.
“But Zak looked so vulnerable and frightened that we simply had to do everything we can to help.
“When you are faced looking at Zak in a foreign country, you’ve got to be pretty hard not being affected by it.
“We have another dog and went to the local rescue centre for that one – Teddy, another rescue from an Irish puppy farm.
“He’s blind in one eye.
“He was up for the chop and was brought over to the UK by a local place in Derby.
“My wife saw him and salvaged him five years ago.
“He’s a Cocker Spaniel – he’s one eyed so gets the sympathy vote all the time.
“They get on very well.
“Teddy has had the house to himself for five years.
“He’s reacted quite well.
“They have their own beds – Zak is sleeping in his own bed and Teddy in his.
“It’s one day at a time but thus far there’s been no ‘cross-barks’.
“They don’t seem to be snapping at one another.
“He just wants to seek shelter and cover, he’s not very good outside, and he takes salvage underneath our swing seat.
“He’s used to being on the streets in Zante, where they are open to being beaten and we think his tail has been docked for whatever reason – we don’t know and never will.
“The first day we went out to the local bar to watch the British Lions and he was opposite the bar.
“We saw a lot of other dogs but Zak was on his own.
“When we didn’t see him, Jo started swinging her thoughts towards another dog we saw.
“I said, ‘what if we do see Zak?’
“We weren’t giving up hope – we were going out every night with dog food and water trying to find Zak, or if not just to give other street dogs something.
“It ended up as a quest!
“We did see Zak, Jo made contact with Sue (from the charity) but it was too late for her to come to take him, so we had no choice other than to stop all night on the beach with him before sneaking him into the hotel.
Sam, 16, added: “We had given up hope of finding him so it was a real relief when we saw him again.
“It was really sad to see so many stray dogs in Zante, but I’m glad we were able to help Zak.”
Sue Deeth, from the charity which helped the family fly Zak to the UK, said: “We know there are plenty of dogs in the UK who deserve a good home, but there was no way we were leaving this little dog behind.”