A CARING couple have saved a dog on its way to be butchered at a meat market in China.

Robert MacDonald and his wife Gwyneth have given a forever home to two-year-old Ted after he was repatriated from China.

The apricot poodle was crushed into the back of a van on his way to a wet market to be slaughtered for human consumption when the vehicle was intercepted by animal rights charity Underdog International.

They struck a deal with the driver to save the animals and Ted took his first step towards his new life in Inverclyde.

Robert, a regional partner at Succession Wealth in Gourock, explained: "Just three days after Christmas last year, aid workers stopped a truck which was filled with 50 dogs, all destined for the meat market.

"They spoke to the driver, managed to agree a price and the dogs were removed.

"The charity saved them from imminent death and they were taken to a safe house in Harbin. Because they were in such a poor condition they had to be gradually nursed back to health.

"Ted and another dog Hattie, a terrier cross, were among the last two dogs to arrive in the UK last month. Their route was Beijing, Paris, London then up to Scotland.

"Hattie was rehomed with a family in Stirling and we said we would take Ted. He has been through so much, we now just want to give him a happy life."

Robert said the charity is one her and Gwyneth have long supported.

He explained: "It does fabulous work and has various projects including rehoming dogs, using them for therapy, bringing them into villages in war-torn areas to support children who have lost their parents and suffered other trauma.

"Closer to home,”bark & read” helps UK children with literacy issues. It involved allowing children to feel confident in their pace of reading to a dog without there being any judgement."

In China alone, more than 10 million dogs are slaughtered each year, many of them family pets still wearing their collars. They are snatched from the streets and forced into tiny cages then sold for meat.

Robert added: "Thankfully, the communist Chinese Government has finally reversed the classification of 10 years ago that dogs are pets and not livestock, but this practice needs to end."

Ted has travelled 4,800 miles to find his happy ending - but the couple say there is a unique problem still to overcome to help him settle in.

Robert laughed: "His English is still pretty poor and we are having to use a Google translation tool to give commands in Chinese. Everyone thinks it is hilarious when I tell them.

"He has managed to learn sit, paw and lie so far, although it is no surprise that walkies, requires no translation!”

Robert and Gwyneth, CEO of MindMosaic in Greenock, are part of a wider family of dog lovers and have all welcomed Ted with open arms.

She said: "Ted has joined our border terrier Pippa to become a full time office dog with Robert and he's loving life in Inverclyde. It is horrible to think what he has gone through but he is most certainly a Christmas present come early for the whole family."