A TALENTED Greenock photographer who is passionate about saving a persecuted dog breed has scooped a prestigious industry honour. 

An Di Prima's beautiful photo of a podenco dog being hugged by a rescuer won the new 'documentary' category of the International Pet Photographer of the Year Awards 2023.

The animal advocate secured an unprecedented five finalist spots in the category and was thrilled when her emotional shot was crowned the winner. 

Greenock Telegraph:
An, 37, watched the awards, organised by Unleashed Education, live from Las Vegas on Facebook. 

She said: "I started crying when they called out my name. 

"It means so much. 

"It's an incredible honor to be recognized among such a talented pool of international photographers. 

"I had entered the competition before but had only ever reached the top 100. 

"I'm completely blown away by it."

An has been raising awareness of the under-threat podenco dog breed for many years. 

The shots she submitted for the competition were all taken at the Hope For Podencos rescue centre earlier this year. 

Greenock Telegraph:
Run by Scotsman Steve Allan, the centre has helped many podencos find loving homes in Scotland. 

An said: "They're known as the 'invisible dogs' and there have been reports of them being buried in mass graves. 

"They're not popular pets in Spain and they're only viewed as hunting dogs. 

"There's a big hunting culture around them.

"They're horribly abused as people think that if they're starved they will hunt better. 

"Hunting and working dogs are not protected in Spain at all.

"It's completely barbaric.

"We have to change this mentality."

An, who is originally from Belgium, is the proud protector of two podencos - Bae, 16, and Phara, four. 

Bae came from the El Buen Amigo shelter in Spain, and Phara was from Podencos In Need in Scotland. 

Greenock Telegraph:

Greenock Telegraph:
An added: "They're such beautiful dogs and are so quirky and fun. 

"It's so important that they find their way into loving homes."

To raise awareness of podencos, An will be releasing a coffee table book full of photos and stories in November.

Greenock Telegraph:
All profits from the book, called Podencos In Scotland, will be split between charities working to help the breed. 

An said: "I did a calendar last year but there wasn't enough space for all the beautiful photos and stories, so I started compiling a book.

"It's very important to me to do everything I can to support podencos. 

"It's something very close to my heart. 

"I just want to let people know that these beautiful dogs exist and do my part."

To find out more about An's work visit www.thefaithfulhoundphotography.com