A DOG that was skinny and scared when she was handed into an animal sanctuary looks set to become a social media star after finding a new lease of life.

When 11-year-old Patterdale-cross Jess was taken in by the Durham District RSPCA Kennels she was underweight, nervous and had a skin problem.

The Northern Echo:

Christine Percival, a volunteer with SoSad dog rehoming charity on the same site, became her foster carer and has helped her make a remarkable recovery.

Jess is now such a picture of health that she has been selected as a model for pet supplies business the Animal Health Company, featuring in a Christmas marketing campaign on its social media platforms.

The Northern Echo:

And the duo have formed such a bond during their time together, which has been longer than planned because of the coronavirus pandemic, that Miss Percival has decided to keep Jess.

Miss Percival, from Bishop Auckland, said: "I was looking to take an older dog on a foster arrangement as I know how difficult they are to rehome.

"I was told about Jess and took her in, supposedly short term, and she'd gained weight, her skin was improving and she was looking happier.

"Then lockdown happened, rehoming slowed down and I couldn't do all the things we had planned for her such as socialisation on public transport because there was hardly anyone on the bus.

"She's come so far I decided to adopt her.

"I'm so proud of her, she's a cracking little dog and I was really pleased when the Animal Health Company replied to my message and chose her for their festive campaign."