It was set to be a dog’s life for a ruff-looking pooch when he was removed from the front of a charity shop where he had stood for more than 20 years.
But Heacham couple Dave and Janice Curtis made sure the dog had not yet had its day after ‘adopting’ the cocker spaniel and restoring it back to its former glory in a heartwarming tail of love.
The RSPCA collection box – thought to date back to at least the 1950s – now stands proudly in the couple’s garden and is a somewhat more unusual companion for their pet golden labrador, Martha.
The pooch has also been named Penny after Penny Skate, who manages the West Norfolk RSPCA re-homing centre in Eau Brink, Tilney All Saints, and also the RSPCA charity shop in Hunstanton, where the dog collection box came from.
It was last summer when charity volunteers felt the dog was too tatty to stand outside the front of the shop in Greevegate, and it was time to replace it with a new collection box.
The dog was put away in a store cupboard, but when regular shop customer and vintage collector Mrs Curtis, 66, enquired about its whereabouts, she jumped at the chance to own it.
She made a £20 donation for the dog, as requested, and took it to her Folgate Road home for husband Dave, 69, to spruce up.
“I only expected him to give it a lick of paint or something, but he stripped it right back to the fibreglass, repainted it, gave it a new collection box and also repaired its nose,” she said.
Penny was also painted to look just like the late pet cocker spaniel which belonged to their friend Jean Smith.
Mrs Curtis added: “Dave painted parts of the box to match my red and grey vintage room at the bottom of the garden too. He’s done such a lovely job, and she looks absolutely amazing.
“Martha likes it too, she’s not an only dog any more.”
Mrs Curtis has been a long-term supporter of the RSPCA; donating £50 to the rehoming centre every December instead of giving out Christmas cards.
She also raised £1,000 for the cause in 2007 when she held a vintage wedding dress show with a friend.
Mrs Skate said she was delighted the dog had been brought back to its former glory thanks to Mr and Mrs Curtis’ “mission of love”.
“They gave me a book of photos showing the process of it being refurbished,” she said. “What they have done is so lovely, and now she really is a wonderful looking dog.”