Reporting by Iain Ramage
A woman moved by a video of a street dog in China reluctantly giving up her puppy went on to rescue the animal and her remaining litter before bringing them home to Scotland.
Amanda Leask, from the Highlands, came across a clip on Facebook of the stray living on a university campus and watching on as a student takes away one of her litter.
With more than 50 million views, the heartbreaking footage showed the cream-coloured dog attempt to follow the student as she walked off taking the puppy to its new home.
Amanda, who has previously rescued four other dogs from China to Thailand, felt compelled to act.
“I just thought let’s try and find her. It’s probably like looking for a needle in a haystack,” Amanda explains.
“I doubt the chances are that we will and then about three days later, had a message from the rescuer to say ‘I’ve found her and the surprise is that she’s got two puppies and would you like me to bring them to Beijing?’
“What do you want to do? Do you want to help her? Do you want to find an adopter?'”
Immediately Amanda knew she wanted to rescue the dog, named Halo and her two puppies Candy and Bear.
Raising the funds needed to obtain the official paperwork to rescue the three dogs from Beijing, it was a difficult mission in the midst of violent human rights protests in Hong Kong.
“I had to get those dogs out of the country, that was the plan,” Amanda says.
“I just wanted to get the dogs over to the UK and then send a lovely positive message back to the Chinese people given the fact they liked Halo’s story so much represents a mother’s love.”
Amanda hopes that the rescue of Halo and her pups will lead to a change in animal welfare laws in China.
“Given the fact that in so many countries there are no animal welfare laws that it would be amazing if a story like Halo’s can appeal to the better nature of the Chinese people.
“Maybe it could be something that could be a precursor in that process in some way of trying to get animal welfare laws in place.”
Passionate about rescuing animals, Halo and her puppies have been settling in to the menagerie of rescue animals at Amanda’s Highland home.
Her dog Braveheart, also rescued from China, has no front legs and has won awards for being an animal hero.
Miracle, who was rescued from Thailand, has formed a close bond with her son Kyle, who has cerebral palsy and autism, and it is hoped he will soon become the little boy’s emotional support dog.
“The three dogs are gradually settling in but, of course, acclimatising fully to their new home in the Highlands will take some time yet,” Amanda explains.
However, she hopes her latest rescues can inspire a force for change in China.