An animal welfare charity has said how it helped a dog recover after he was neglected.

The National Animal Welfare Trust said Bernie the dog had arrived at the charity with a deep mistrust for people following a lifetime of “cruel” neglect.

But following rehabilitative training at the charity in Watford, Bernie gradually learned to trust in people again, changing his mind-set and eventually transforming his future.

And this year, Bernie found his perfect family, which the charity said would not have been possible without the public support it received.

On the day of his departure, Animal Supervisor at the charity Yasmin Menezes said: “We’ve spent two Christmas days together, enjoyed three summers sunbathing, we’ve walked probably a hundred miles side by side across all four seasons and had countless sofa snuggles.

“He’s waited patiently over the years, learning and growing to leave today a happy, affectionate lad for who the world is still a little scary, but he isn’t lost anymore. He has a home now to call his own with his very own people too.”

“Dogs like Bernie, and all of us at NAWT, are so lucky to have such amazing support from the community that allows us to carry out this work; our little shelter simply wouldn’t survive without it.”

Arabela, Bernie’s new owner, said: “Bernie is doing very well! You wouldn't guess he used to be so scared of humans as he is so confident and affectionate around us and others! With the right introduction he warms to new people quickly now. And he's a soppy cuddly boy with us at home.

“We were apprehensive bringing him home as his past was unknown so we were prepared for him to be fearful of things like the washing machine. But he fell asleep right away and immediately felt right at home. He's a joy to train and so eager to please.

“It's a pleasure watching him learn to behave like a happy dog should.”

The charity is now hoping to rescue twice as many animals this Christmas by raising £22,500 between December 3 and December 10 through donations as part of its Big Give Christmas Challenge.

This will automatically be doubled to £45,000 by champion funders if the charity can reach its target.

It is appealing to supporters, neighbours and any person with a passion for the welfare of animals to donate from as little as £5 to their campaign from midday on December 3 to help them secure the £22,500 of funding.