WATCH: Ernie's heartwarming transformation after year of care in Mount Noddy, Chichester

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When he first arrived at Mount Noddy Animal Centre in Chichester, Ernie, two, was a very different dog.

The Labrador-Husky cross breed was so timid he tremble in the corner of his kennel, rather than coming out to play with staff and other dogs.

"It was utterly devastating to see him so frightened,” said Mount Noddy manager Susan Botherway. “When Ernie first came to us he was terrified; he didn’t want to interact with us and didn’t trust us at all. He’d cower in the corner of his kennel and tremble from head to toe.”

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Ernie arrived at Mount Noddy – run by RSPCA Sussex West Branch – in March 2023, having been passed around multiple homes. By the time he found himself in the care of RSCPA staff, he had shut down entirely.

Ernie is bright and bubbly in surroundings with which he's familiar.Ernie is bright and bubbly in surroundings with which he's familiar.
Ernie is bright and bubbly in surroundings with which he's familiar.

Now, more than a year later, he’s blossomed into a happy, friendly dog with a bouncy personality and a penchant for play – but he’s still looking for a home.

“He’s still a sensitive soul and takes his time getting to know new people but once he trusts you he’s an absolutely lovely dog. He’s cuddly, playful, and incredibly affectionate,” Susan added.

“He has lots of doggy friends here at the centre but they keep finding new homes and heading off to start their new lives and he gets left behind. It really is his turn to have his happy ever after moment.

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“While Ernie is bouncy and fun-loving when he’s in surroundings he’s familiar with, he can find new places and new experiences quite scary. His new family will need to be patient with him and can slowly, gradually and positively introduce him to new sights, sounds and places.

When he arrived at Mount Noddy, Ernie had 'shut down'When he arrived at Mount Noddy, Ernie had 'shut down'
When he arrived at Mount Noddy, Ernie had 'shut down'

“Due to his shy nature, any potential adopters will also need to come to the centre to meet him several times, and spend time getting to know him, so he can learn to trust them.

“He’s a really active boy who will love the opportunity to go on walks and he’ll benefit from further training to help with his lead walking. We think he’d be best in an adult home with a lovely big garden to explore and with owners who will initially be around a lot of the time to help him settle in. He could live with another dog as he loves being around his four-legged friends.”