Appeal to help Portsmouth pup Alfie see is smashed after share from Ricky GervaisÂ
SEVEN months after he was born,Â a once-unwanted German shepherd puppy could finally be given the gift of sight.Â
Adorable Alfie will have cataracts removed from both his eyes tomorrowÂ thanks to the generosity of scores ofÂ News readers, animals loversÂ and comedian Ricky Gervais.Â
It comes after nearly 150 donors pledged more than Â£4,500 toward an online fund set up in the pup's name '“Â launched by Portchester-based charity German Shepherd Rescue South (GSRS)Â '“ to help him overcome the eye defects he has battled with since birth.
Two days after the Alfie's Fight for Sight appeal was launched, on Wednesday, Â£451 of its Â£4,000 goal had been raised.Â
But rescuers were left stunned on Saturday when it was shared by starÂ of The OfficeÂ and stand-up comic Ricky Gervais on Twitter '“ raking in more than Â£3,000 in a surge of donations in just 41 minutes.Â
Erica Grimes, a GSRS director, was elated '“Â having expected a '˜months-long slog' to make Alfie's dream a reality.
'˜We cannot believe the generosity of people toward this dear little boy '“Â thank you just seems so inadequate,' she said.Â
'˜Being a small rescue, we have always fought but struggled to give our dogs the very best '“Â but knowing we've met our target is just phenomenal.'Â
Born to a breeder in Wiltshire, Alfie was the only puppy from a litter of six who was unwanted.Â
He was rescued by GSRS andÂ moved into a foster home in Ebery Grove, Portsmouth with Lea Wilkinson, after spending five months in a kennel.Â
She said: '˜You couldn't ask for a nicer dog than Alfie. He's quick to learn, he's caring and he is so gentle.Â
'˜The hope now is that the operation goes well, his sight will come through immediately and he will have an amazing time.'
Sharing the appeal to his 13million followers at 6.42pm on Saturday, Mr Gervais said: '˜Let's do this!'Â
After the target was exceeded, at 7.23pm, he followed up: '˜Job done! You lot are amazing.'Â