A MAN who rescued a dog abandoned at a railway station with a suitcase of its belongings is backing a campaign urging people to adopt a homeless pet.
Shar-pei crossbreed Kai attracted worldwide attention after he was dumped at Ayr station in January, prompting offers from dog lovers around the globe to take him in.
He was rescued by the Scottish SPCA, and the charity chose Ian Russell, 52, from a list of hundreds to give the dog a new start in life.
Mr Russell is now urging other people to consider taking in an animal as the charity launches Scottish SPCA Rehoming Week, which runs from 4-10 May, appealing for new homes for the hundreds of animals in their care.
Speaking on the three month anniversary of taking Kai home, Mr Russell said: “Kai has settled in amazingly well with me - he is one relaxed and chilled dog and makes noises like Scooby-Doo when he’s sleeping.
“He is recognised everywhere we go and we’re always getting stopped on the street and asked to pose for photos. Kai is so gentle and soft with people and other dogs that everyone just adores him.
“He is one relaxed and chilled dog and makes noises like Scooby-Doo when he’s sleeping”Ian Russell
“I think it was definitely fate that I was able to rehome Kai. I feel like he was sent to me to help me through the death of my Dalmatian Mica, which was a really difficult time.
“When I applied to rehome Kai, I made it clear that if the Scottish SPCA didn’t think I was suitable, I would happily take their advice and consider one of the many other rescue dogs in their care. I didn’t just want Kai because he had been in the news, I wanted to help a rescued animal in need of a second chance.”
Mr Russell, a self-employed hydraulic engineer from Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire, said earlier this year that getting Kai was like winning the lottery.
He said today: “It’s fantastic there was such a huge response to Kai’s story and rehoming him has certainly changed my life. It’s really important for me to use this publicity to highlight the fact there are many other animals like Kai who need loving homes and that’s why I’m delighted to back the Scottish SPCA’s Rehoming Week.
“I would certainly encourage anyone thinking of getting a pet to go along to one of their rescue centres and see for themselves just how many animals are waiting for a fresh start.”
Kai was discovered by railway staff on January 2 after an internet sale fell through.
He was tied to a railing and accompanied by a case containing a pillow, toy, food and bowl.
The images of the abandoned dog went round the world and the animal welfare charity said people from as far afield as New York and the Philippines offered to give him a new home.
Scottish SPCA Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We are thrilled to have Ian and Kai’s support for our Rehoming Week.
“Last year our animal rescue and rehoming centres found wonderful homes for a record 6,719 animals, many of which had been abused, abandoned and neglected or were simply no longer wanted.
“Many people might not realise we rescue and rehome many types of animals, from dogs, cats, rabbits and rodents to horses, birds, snakes and more.
“We think rescue pets make great pets and raising awareness is what Rehoming Week is all about.”