An abandoned blind puppy has had such an amazingly full life he’s just been named as Vets Now Pet of the Year 2023 runner-up. 

12-year-old Lurcher Scout was due to be put down before being reprieved and then adopted at six months by Tracey Ison and husband Paul. 

Despite his sight loss, he’s been fully active, brings joy as a much-loved Therapy dog and has been a champion fundraiser for one of the charities that helped save his life. 

He also aids the mental health of those attending a community carers café as part of a social prescribing initiative. 

Scout faced a bleak future after being dumped on the streets as a puppy. 

“He was picked up stray in County Durham and the pound were going to put him to sleep as they thought he was deaf, blind and no one would want him,” said retired veterinary nurse Tracey, from Hinckley, Leicestershire. 

“When they found he wasn’t deaf, three rescue charities took him on and when I heard his story, we just had to give him a chance. 

“We had two choices with his blindness, either cocoon him and keep him safe or try and give him a full life with us acting as his eyes.” 

Scout thrived at puppy training classes and went on to achieve a Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award. 

Training was adapted to cater for Scout’s blindness, with commands to keep him safe. He plays normally with other dogs and has joined the family on mountain climbs and numerous different adventures. 

Seeing how people were drawn to his gentle nature, the couple had him trained to work extensively with charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide.  

“He’s been a regular at Saffron House Care Home in Barwell and it’s incredible to see the effect his visits have on dementia care patients,” said Tracey. 

“He’s got a knack of knowing what different people want and he’s so calm and patient. There’s one lady who likes to give him a little biscuit and then he’ll just lie down with her. You can see what it means.” Scout the lurcher prancing

Scout was also asked to be mascot at Whitestone Carers Community Café following the positive impact of his visits and has helped raise funds for East Midlands Dog Rescue, who helped to save him. 

“He’s had a few health issues recently so he’s slowing down a bit and we don’t push him to do too much these days,” said Tracey. 

“He deserves a break after overcoming every obstacle and showing he’s such a fighter. 

“We’re chuffed to bits to get this award. He’s at the stage of retiring and I think this is a really fitting tribute for all he has done for others.” 

This is the second annual Pet of the Year awards and there were deserving entries from across the country. 

“It was really tough to shortlist for this year’s awards, as so many incredibly moving entries were submitted.” said Dave Leicester, an emergency vet and head of telehealth at Video Vets Now, a video consultation service for pet owners. 

“What’s clear is that more than ever, pets are showing incredible resilience and with the right attention and care, are much loved members of the family.” 

Tracey received a trophy, a £50 voucher and a personalised bundle of vet-recommended pet treats from official awards partner Wayfair. 

“It’s been a pleasure to be involved in Vets Now Pet of the Year Awards and hear so many remarkable stories. Pets are such an important part of homes for thousands of households across the country and it’s clear that the winning entries are very much part of the family, offering comfort, companionship and so much more.” said Marina Kull, Head of UK Housewares at Wayfair.