A dog who was left abandoned and tied to a tree in a Bristol park is looking for a new start to 2021.
Little Esme was found earlier this month tied to a tree in the city by a woman out walking her dogs.
Esme had been left with nothing – not even a bowl of water or a blanket to keep out the winter chill.
Esme, a terrier cross, was cowering in fear, but the woman managed to pick her up and contacted Holly Hedge Animal Sanctuary in Barrow Gurney.
When Esme arrived at the sanctuary she was so terrified she wouldn’t even leave her bed.
Staff at the sanctuary scanned Esme, believed to be about five years-old, for a microchip but none was found.
They also scoured lost and found pet sites in a bid to find her owner, but no no avail.
Holly Hedge spokeswoman Hannah Goodwin-Sharman said: “Esme was found tied to the tree with a bit of rope.
“She had no collar on and nothing with her and there was no indication of how long she had been there.
“When she got back to the sanctuary she was absolutely terrified.
“She was so scared of everyone and everything around her that her whole little body shakes when she hears a voice or sees your hand move.
“Even an advert on the radio is enough to make her head whip around at a new perceived threat.”
Staff at the sanctuary have been spending hours sat with Esme in her kennel, talking to her and encouraging her out of her bed using treats such as chicken.
And she has now started to venture out of her bed and has even started to explore the corridor.
“We just don’t know what happened to Esme before she came here as there is no record of her anywhere,” said Hannah.
“It was heartbreaking to see her like that.
“Staff have been sitting with her in her kennel for an hour at a time, talking to her and setting her different little challenges using treats.
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“She has now started to venture out of her kennel and along the corridor and is starting to make real progress.
“It’s little steps with her but we are celebrating every day with her.”
The sanctuary will continue to work with Esme to rebuild her trust in humans and hope to be able to rehome her in the New Year.
“We will be looking to rehome her once we understand more about her personality and her needs.
“She may never be a really outgoing dog due to what has happened to her,” said Hannah.
“And she will need a home where someone really understands her.”
Anyone who wants to find out more about Esme or other dogs looking for a new home in 2021 should call the sanctuary on 01275 474719.