Britain’s ‘most unwanted’ dog finally finds his forever home

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Jake the Lurcher, who was once referred to in the media as ‘Britain’s most unwanted dog’, has finally found his forever home after spending more than 1,700 days at Dogs Trust’s Leeds rescue centre.

Jake first arrived at Dogs Trust in 2015. Aged just one, he’d already had several homes; while he was initially rehomed, he was returned to kennels in 2019 after a change in his new owner’s circumstances. Afterwards, Jake was a firm favourite at the centre – but was unable to find a new home.

While the staff described him as a sweet, playful and affectionate dog, his shaky start in life meant that Jake was not very confident around dogs and people, and had some very specific rehoming requirements, meaning he was overlooked by potential adopters.

The team at Dogs Trust Leeds spent many hours working with Jake to help him overcome these issues, using their expertise in behaviour to create a bespoke training programme to build his trust with new people, and develop his social skills around other dogs.


“One of the unique techniques the Dogs Trust team implemented was taking Jake for weekends away to take part in different activities including hiking on the moors, and to spend nights away from his kennel to help build his confidence in new environments, all designed to get ready for rehoming,” a Dogs Trust statement explains.

A video of Jake enjoying a weekend hiking in Wensleydale with one of his carers, Kevin Johnson, was spotted by Keighley couple, Veronica and Keith. They applied to adopt Jake and, once they were found to be a good match, they worked with the rehoming centre staff to slowly build up their relationship. After three months of successful introductions, Jake moved into his new home in February 2024.

Jake’s new owner Veronica said, “I knew the moment that I saw the video of Jake on his holidays that I wanted him to come and live with us. He’d had a tough start to life and lacked in confidence, but it was clear from our first meeting that he was an affectionate and friendly dog who just needed someone to give him a chance.

“The introduction process was quite long, but it was important we moved at a pace Jake was happy with, and the staff at Dogs Trust Leeds supported us through it all. We love having Jake in our home. It feels like he’s been with us forever, and we couldn’t imagine life without him!”

Kevin Johnson, one of the team at Dogs Trust Leeds who cared for Jake, added, “Jake is such a lovely boy, and we’ve loved spending time with him in the centre. But four years is too long for any dog to be with us, and we were desperate to find him his forever home.

“We were delighted when Veronica and Keith got in touch with us about Jake, and even more pleased that they understood his adoption wouldn’t be a quick process. After so much upheaval in his life, and then spending so long in a rehoming centre, he needed time to adjust to a new way of living.

“Before he left the rehoming centre for the last time, all his best friends gathered in his garden for a little goodbye party, and we were joined by current and former Dogs Trust staff who had cared for Jake over the years. Jake literally bounced out of the car, straight into his new home and on to the sofa. I’m not ashamed to say there was quite the lump in my throat. Seeing him happily and confidently standing at his new home front door with his family as we left was so emotional!”

During his time with Dogs Trust, Jake was classed as an “Underdog”, the name the charity gives to dogs that have been in its care for six months or more. The charity currently has over 400 Underdogs in its care patiently waiting for new homes. For more information on some of the Underdogs currently in the care of Dogs Trust, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/underdogs.

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