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Last Updated: Monday, 21 November 2005, 07:25 GMT
Traumatised Meg named top dog
The Lakes with Meg
Elsie and Neville Lake are delighted with Meg's progress
A pet from north Wales with a traumatic past has been named the RSPCA's Dog of the Year.

Meg was bought from the boot of a car when she was eight months old.

Elsie and Neville Lake, of Tregarth, Bangor, later found out that Meg was terrified of water even when offered some in a drinking bowl.

The animal charity the RSPCA said the previous owner had tried to drown her and she was frightened of food, drink people and even play.

Now happy and settled, Meg's success story will put her picture on the front cover of the magazine Dogs Today.

Meg - a kelpie, or Australian sheepdog - was a last-minute entrant to the competition. Mrs Lake had gone along to the competition purely as a visitor, taking her dog with her.

"But as soon as the man at the till realised that Meg was a rescue dog he persuaded me to enter and Meg won it," she said.

"Winning the national competition is amazing, and I am so proud of Meg and all that she has achieved."

The story of Meg's recovery impressed the judge.

The RSPCA said when the Lakes first met her, she was frightened and shaking, and her collar was so tight it nearly choked her.

The charity said the couple were puzzled that she was particularly terrified of water, and only later did they discover that her previous owner had tried to drown her on several occasions.

Meg the kelpie, or Australian sheepdog
Meg is an example of how rescue dogs can make great pets

"Even her experience of feeding had been distressing," an RSPCA spokesperson explained, saying she had been locked in a shed and food would be hurled in for her at irregular intervals.

This changed soon after the new owners got another dog, Cassie, a 12-month-old collie crossbred retriever.

Cassie's sense of fun and gentleness won Meg over. The Lakes said although she still has some fears, she has learned to play and, above all, to trust.

Competition judge John Hancock, Wales and west regional manager for the RSPCA, said: " As soon as I met Meg and realised her story, I knew she was in a league of her own.

"She has been through so much, yet she's managed to overcome all the obstacles life has thrown at her to become a really happy, healthy dog with a fantastic personality.

"This is a great example of the joy that rescue dogs can bring to loving homes."

"RSPCA Dog of the Year is an opportunity for dogs which were once unwanted to take centre stage with their new owners and show just what fun and loving pets rescue dogs can make," Mr Hancock added.

As well as becoming a cover girl for the dog owners' magazine Dogs Today, Meg has won her owners a commemorative plaque and food vouchers.

She will also have a soft toy - one of the RSPCA's Perfect Pets range - designed in her image.

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