A VETERAN pooch is preparing to embark on a fundraising walk in aid of a charity which rescues and cares for abandoned animals.

Rossi, who is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier on the brink of celebrating his 14th birthday, lives in Clacton, where he is adored by owner Lisa Mitchell, 53.

Lisa, who moved to the area about a year ago, has had loving and affectionate Rossi since he was just six-weeks-old, and says he has become her “entire world”.

Just like his human family, Rossi is an avid supporter of The National Animal Welfare Trust, based in Little Clacton, and now, despite his advancing years, is to go the extra mile for the organisation.

In a bid to raise £300 for the charity, and help stray and homeless cats and dogs find a new home, determined Rossi will lead a sponsored walk on Tuesday.

Taking place on his birthday, the old-timer will stroll around a large farm area near to where he and Lisa live, in Cann Hall, which will roughly take two hours.

To the more sprightly of pups, the retired dog’s charity expedition would quite literally be a walk in the park.

But for inspiring Rossi, the walk will be no small feat, given his various health issues including dodgy hips, arthritis and poor hearing and vision.

“He can walk and we take him out every day but he can find it difficult, but he is always happy to go and gets excited when we get there,” said Lisa.

“We have a lot of breaks along the way, which we will do for the fundraising walk, and he loves rolling on his back when we do stop, which we say is him breakdancing.

“The farm is quite big and we have to drive him there, because he wouldn’t make it if we walked there but I would never put him through anything he doesn’t enjoy.

“Rossi is my entire world and he has seen me through so much, and I cried yesterday while cuddling him because I am just so proud of him and what he is doing.”

Lisa says any funds deservedly raised will go to a great and needy cause.

Since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, and the country was subsequently place on lockdown, the National Animal Welfare Trust has been struggling financially.

Every day the centre has been closed, the charity has been losing £100, despite still having vulnerable animals to care for and feed.

It has also had to temporarily refrain from taking in any more animals, because they cannot re-home those already in their facility.

“I am a great lover of animals, it does not matter what they are, so I have arranged to leave some money to the trust when I die,” Lisa added.

“We love it, and if it ever closes, it will be a big loss to the area, so that is why I decided to do the walk, to help raise a bit of money for them.

“It isn’t as much as Captain Tom, but we are calling him Captain Rossi from now on.”

To sponsor Rossi visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Mitchell37.

Alternatively, to donate directly to the National Animal Welfare Trust, head to facebook.com/nawt.clacton.