A LAST photograph of an elderly dog enjoying her final trip to the beach has captured the hearts of dog lovers across the world.

Jessie the black Labrador was 15-and-a-half years old and was deaf, going blind, suffered from arthritis and needed to be lifted from a van for her last visit to Redcar beach with her owner, Lisa Rutter.

Ms Rutter, who had Jessie from an eight-week-old pup, explained that she didn't know for sure that it would be Jessie's last chance to enjoy the beach in their home town but she knew the life of her beloved pet was coming to an end and took photographs.

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"Jessie was tired and it was an emotional day," she said, explaining she had left her two other dogs at home so she and Jessie could spend some time together alone.

"She wasn't ill but, to be honest, I kind of knew that she wasn't going to be with us much longer."

Ms Rutter, who runs the Wet Noses and Wagging Tails dog care and walking business in Redcar, explained that the month after she took those pictures Jessie went off her food and then stopped drinking water last September. She took her to the vet and was advised to put her down.

A heartbroken Ms Rutter and her civil partner, Jen, who she met while walking Jessie, took her ashes to be scattered in the Lake District where they had happy times together.

Last month they came across a Best Old Dog Photo Competition being hosted by Off the Leash, a dog cartoon website run by artist Rupert Fawcett and entered the beach picture which won and then went viral.

"It has been amazing," said Ms Rutter. "There's 11,000 likes just on my Facebook page and thousands and thousands more on the Off the Leash site. I'm just proud she was my pet."