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Dog owner keen to break the stigma attached to Staffies

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STAFFORDSHIRE bull terriers often have a reputation that precedes them.

Rescue dog Maddie and her owner Len Le Prevost have grown inseparable since he adopted her from the GSPCA three years ago. (25243970)

Maddie and her owner, Len Le Prevost, are however trying to change attitudes and ‘do away’ with the stigma attached to some breeds of dog.

Mr Le Prevost cannot remember the last time he did not have a dog, describing a home as merely a house without man’s best friend, and about 15 years ago he decided to begin adopting rescue dogs.

‘I can’t say enough to people: if you are going to get a dog please, please get a rescue,’ said Mr Le Prevost.

‘I came across Maddie almost accidentally. We had a toy poodle named Tuppence, another rescue from Spain, and when we went up to the animal shelter we saw Maddie and agreed to take her on for the weekend. The problem was that Maddie had been caged for three years by her previous owners and kept just for breeding.

‘She wasn’t walked and actually had no idea how to or why you would want to – meaning she was quite challenging and, despite some rescues centres taking her, she kept ending up back at the GSPCA – who, by the way, do fantastic work.’

Taking Maddie home for the weekend, she immediately mothered Mr Le Prevost’s other dog Tuppence. By Sunday she was walking a little, encouraged by treats, and Mr Le Prevost and his partner just fell in love with her.

‘We told the GSPCA we will take her and that’s about three years ago now. She is the most good-natured, calm dog.

‘She can be quite timid, you will see a little dog come up and bark and she will come running to me looking for some love,’ said Mr Le Prevost.

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Over the past year Maddie has been assessed by nationwide charity Pets as Therapy.

Its team will come and assess a dog on different characteristics and behaviours.

If successful, the dog can then become affiliated with the charity and begin making visits to community centres, care homes and schools as a qualified therapy dog.

‘She is the perfect dog for this kind of thing.

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‘My mother-in-law lives in a care home and one of the grandsons goes to Le Rondin, so on visits to her and when I take Maddie up to the school fete she is already being a therapy dog on an informal basis.

‘What I am trying to do is show to people how loving Staffies are, and dogs in general, and it is really is down to the nasty owners at the end of the day that make the dog nasty. I know younger dogs can be a little aggressive, but you can or not encourage that in them.

‘If you see us in Town or anywhere out and about please come and say hello – I can say you will all be her best friend.’

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