On its way to Friday’s opening ceremony, the Olympic torch passed through the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London yesterday.
For the first time in its two-month journey around England, the torch and its carrier were accompanied by a dog: Rory, a 4-year-old Staffie who needs a furever home.
The Battersea website reports that Rory “behaved beautifully as the pair ran past an enthusiastic audience of dogs and their handlers.”
“It was so special to welcome Michael here as he is a great friend of the Home,” Battersea Chief Executive Claire Horton stated. “To see him run with the flame and Rory the Staffie, past so many of our homeless dogs, made the day complete. It was wonderful to be able to involve our dogs and give them a taste of the fantastic Olympic spirit that’s exciting the nation.”
Owen stated, “I’m a huge fan of Staffies, so was thrilled to meet Rory and he seemed to really enjoy helping me carry the torch. The atmosphere was brilliant and the dogs behaved so well.”
He later tweeted to his 1.4 million followers, “Battersea Cats and Dogs home do some fantastic work. Privilege to be there today.”
Rory is still waiting to be adopted. While Staffies are not banned in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act, other “Pit Bull Type” dogs are, including Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers.
The Belfast City Council’s killing two weeks ago of Lennox, a beloved family pet determined by non-experts to be a “Pit Bull type” dog, has brought international attention to the senselessness of breed-specific legislation.