A RAFFLE - or in this case perhaps, a RUFF-LE - with a difference is offering a special prize to dog owners to help a charity.

The owners of a dog-friendly luxury Somerset cottages have offered a prize worth £1,000 in the draw, which will benefot the WAGs charity, which supports ex-service dogs in their twilight years.

Emma and Simon Oliver, who run Quantock Cottages, have put up for grabs 'the ultimate dog-friendly short break' after adopting two former police dogs themselves.

“We have been so lucky to have two ex-police dogs come to live with us," said Emma.

"First there was Cube who was 8, and most recently we have adopted Suatra, who is 5 years old.

"It’s been so enjoyable watching them slowly relax into civilian life after their years of doing their job. We feel very privileged they have come to us.”

Both Cube and Sutra are German Shepherds, but there are many different types of service dog jobs met by different breeds.

There are explosive detection dogs, data dogs, cadaver dogs, and drug dogs, as well as the general purpose dogs who track people, assist with arrests, and do riot control.

“All service dogs work hard during their career, so they are often retired at a young age,” said Emma.

“Many leave work early due to an injury. Usually, the dogs are adopted by their handlers, who are regular PCs on standard salaries.

"As many companies won’t offer insurance for these dogs, their owners bear the financial burden of their care.

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“Any animal owner knows how expensive vet’s fees can be, especially if you are dealing with surgery or long term rehabilitation after an injury.

"Too many animals ended their years of service needing to be put down because their owners couldn’t afford the treatment they so richly deserved.

"This is why charities such as WAGs were set up, and why we are so passionate to do as much as we can to support them.

“When we offered to re-home Sutra, we were contacted by WAGs who said they would be there for us if she or Cube ever needed large scale clinical care. It was enormously re-assuring to know that someone would be there to help if we needed it.”

The package up for grabs is a three-night weekend stay or four-night midweek stay in a luxury cottage, with private hot tub, outside bar and open fire.

“This is the ultimate dog holiday spot,” added Emma. “We are positioned on the edge of about 9,000 acres of open moorland, with so many magical walks to discover, as well as dog-friendly pubs, cafes and restaurants and the coast is just a mile and half down the lane.

"We know how important dogs are as family members, so we have ensured that the cottage gardens are totally dog secure and we have a ¾ acre enclosed woodland doggie play area,  and for the discerning dog they have their own doggie “spa” with hot and cold shower and drying bench.

“We look forward to welcoming the winners of our prize to enjoy the magical surroundings here, and spending some quality time with their four-legged friends."

Raffle tickets cost £5 each are available from https://raffall.com/265566/enter-raffle-to-win-dog-friendly-holiday-hosted-by-wags-retired-police-dogs-

The prize is redeemable between 2022 and the end of 2023 for periods January through to March 31 and November 1 to December 15 (Exclusions: half terms and valentines weeks).

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