SHE IS the little dog who was found as a stray unable to walk.

But now she is celebrating her 17th birthday after helping hundreds of animals find their forever homes.

Sammy is a Jack Russell terrier, previously rehomed through Blue Cross Southampton 17 years ago.

Sammy will be turning 17 in a few weeks time, making her 84-years-old in dog years.

She was brought into Blue Cross as a stray puppy and couldn’t walk properly, she was adopted by one of the supervisors at the centre.

Over the years she’s been a Blue Cross dog foster ambassador, welcoming Blue Cross pets into her home, which has helped more nervous dogs who aren’t coping with kennels and displaying calm behaviour around those that are excitable.

And not just dogs – cats, kittens, rabbits, just about everyone and anyone.

As an office dog she’s been used to help our Blue Cross behaviour team with training programmes. She’s a truly special dog.

The Blue Cross team at the centre have said that they are all incredibly fond of her and would love to give her some form of recognition for all her dedication and hard work, so she will be presented with a long service cake for her years of helping homeless pets with Blue Cross.

Ryan Neile, Senior Animal Behaviourist at Blue Cross, said: “Sammie has helped many pets through their journey at Blue Cross.

"She has welcomed dogs, puppies, cats and kittens into her home at various times and given them respite from the kennel environment. Some of the house guests have stayed from one night to several months before finding their new homes.

"In her younger days, she would interact and socialise with many different types of dogs from small to large but now in her twilight years she is often called upon to help some of the more nervous gentle dogs by pottering along with them at a steady pace.

"She has also helped socialise kittens and at one time had a litter of seven kittens exploring and charging around her home.

“For vulnerable and displaced pets, that for many reasons, find themselves without a home, a foster home can make a crucial difference.

"What can make an even greater difference is if the foster home has a friendly and sociable dog that can provide kind of help and support that a humans can’t. Sammy’s amazing ability to read, interpret and respond to the subtle body language of other animals makes her the perfect foster friend when it comes to helping scared or nervous pets feel welcomed and safe.

"Like a good role model or coach, Sammy will show and teach other animals how to behave in the world and that things aren’t quite as scary as they seem.

"This special gift, however seemingly simple, can never be underestimated as a hugely important part of helping Blue Cross pets overcome fears, to socialise and learn new skills.

"Thanks to special dogs like Sammy, we can help prepare the pets in our care for a bright and positive future in a caring home of their own.”