More heartbreaking cases for ‘The Dog Rescuers’

Tuesday: The Dog Rescuers with Alan Davies; (C5, 7pm)

You have to admire Alan Davies First the Essex-born stand-up had us rolling in the aisles with his witty stand-up (winning the 1994 Edinburgh Festival Critics Award for Comedy, no less), both on stage and then on the radio.

Spool forward to 1997 and he blew us away with his performance in the lighthearted crime drama series Jonathan Creek, playing the eponymous role as the creator of magical illusions who turned his intellect to solving fiendish, seemingly impossible crimes.

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It won a BAFTA for Best Drama and ran for an impressive seven years.

Alan returned to his comedy roots when he became a regular panellist on brain-busting quiz QI, sitting at the right hand of erudite original host Stephen Fry, before going on to amuse current presenter Sandi Toksvig and delight fans of the show with his daft banter, amusing antics and almost innate ability to sound the klaxon. Blue whale, anyone?

For most celebrities, no matter which furrow they ploughed, that would be more than enough to create a CV they would be proud of.

But among all these achievements, and nestled among several other projects too, Alan Davies has also carved out a niche as the presenter of this heart-tugging, eye-opening documentary series.

It follows the work of RSPCA inspectors as they find and rescue an array of dogs from a wide variety of situations.

In some cases, their owners are too elderly or ill to be able to look after them properly. Sometimes the inspectors also stumble on stomach-churning cases of cruelty or neglect that can leave us viewers shaking with rage.

From matted and filthy dogs that have been abandoned by callous owners to malnourished or abused animals, the cameras have brought it all into our living rooms.

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This week’s episode features an injured saluki, which is found with a fractured leg so badly damaged it has to be removed. Meanwhile, Alan meets a staffie cross suffering from a skin condition that needs some careful attention. Of course with such darkness comes light, and the series doesn’t focus for too long on the negative: it also spotlights lots of inspirational rehabilitations and heart-warming rehomings, not to mention showcasing the many canine heroes who work on humans’ behalf.

It offers advice on everything from new ways to bond with man’s best friend to highlighting how you can foster a dog, and has followed the life of a rescue puppy from birth all the way through to adulthood.

While falling in love with hundreds of puppy-dog eyes over the series, we’ve also come to understand the challenges the inspectors face, and the amazing emotional rewards they can reap. Sitting at home in the comfort of our living room means we’re very far removed from the smells and sounds the RSPCA inspectors experience, but there’s no getting away from their courage and dedication.

It is as inspiring as it is uplifting and, just like seeing Alan Davies on the telly, the world could do with a lot more of it.

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