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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 15:25 GMT
Dog stayed by dead owner's side
Sandy is being nursed back to health
A devoted dog was found close to death after he stayed beside his owner's dead body for almost a month.

Sandy's owner Jean Crichton died three days after Christmas in her home in Kirkliston, near Edinburgh.

And her faithful pet only survived by drinking water from the toilet bowl.

Ms Crichton's body was only found on Monday when police forced their way into the house after being alerted by concerned neighbours.

He was very lucky to have survived and I think another one or two days and he would have been gone

Nurse Jacqueline Cunningham
Now the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) is seeking a new home for the 13-year-old labrador cross.

The emaciated dog was pining by his owner's side when officers found Ms Crichton, who is believed to have died of natural causes.

Staff at local veterinary surgery Mackie and Brechin have spent the last four days nursing Sandy back to health.

Nurse Jacqueline Cunningham said: "He was in a terrible state when we got him, there was absolutely no flesh on his bones.

"He was very lucky to have survived and I think another one or two days and he would have been gone.

'Waiting to die'

"But we've been feeding him up and his appetite is now back to normal. He's found his voice again as well and is extremely playful."

Scottish SPCA spokeswoman Doreen Graham said Sandy had been in a bad way when he was found by its inspectors.

"The only reason he managed to survive was by drinking water from the toilet bowl. Quite honestly, the dog was waiting to die," she said.

"He was taken to Mackie and Brechin and the staff knew him very well because Ms Crichton always bought her dog food there.

He's got his sparkle back. He's 13, but he's got a real lust for life,

Doreen Graham, Scottish SPCA
"The staff were determined Sandy would pull through and he has responded to their treatment magnificently."

Although still weak, Sandy is expected to move into a foster home this weekend and the animal welfare charity is striving to find him a permanent home.

"He's got his sparkle back. He's 13, but he's got a real lust for life," she added.

"Ms Crichton was a very solitary person and Sandy was her only companion, so he was a much-loved dog.

"However, he's also got a lot of love to give."

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