RSPCA Christmas film tells heartbreaking story of a pandemic puppy

The RSPCA is today [Wednesday 8 December] launching its heartbreaking Christmas film which tells the story of an unwanted pandemic puppy left out in the cold.

The video features a new version of the 1960s classic ‘What the World Needs Now’ by American soul singer Lady Blackbird. The RSPCA worked with BMG on the soundtrack and Lady Blackbird recorded the song especially for the charity as part of its Christmas appeal ‘Join the Christmas Rescue’.

It tells the story of a puppy bought, like so many, during lockdown and whose family, at first loving and excited by the new addition, soon come to see her as a nuisance and dump her by the side of the road.


Luckily for the puppy in the film, she is rescued from the cold by an RSPCA rescuer and taken to safety but sadly the charity expects to see many more animals abandoned this Christmas as the financial and social pressures of the season hit and people struggle to cope.


RSPCA Chief Executive Chris Sherwood said: “So many people have got pets during the pandemic, which is fantastic but, just like the puppy in our film, sadly we know that some pandemic pets are beginning to be abandoned as people’s circumstances change.  


“Some families may be finding it hard to care for their pets after returning to work, some may have lost jobs or the pressures of a busy and expensive Christmas season could be taking its toll, so we’re braced for more pets to be abandoned in the coming weeks. This is why it’s so important to think about whether you can look after an animal for its whole life before taking on a pet.


“This year we’re asking people to support our Christmas campaign ‘Join the Christmas Rescue’ because without people’s generosity, we cannot keep our rescue teams out on the road 365 days a year rescuing animals from abandonment, neglect and abuse.”

As usual, the film was produced in-house by the charity’s broadcast team, Alan Laxton and Lewis Jones, and starred members of staff.


The doggy star of the film is RSPCA rescue puppy Peanut, a terrier crossbreed who was adopted by Jo Toscano, RSPCA joint head of media, her husband Philip, and children Scarlett, 9, and Felix, 6, who all take part in the film.


Five-month-old Peanut was born at RSPCA Leybourne Animal Centre, in Kent, in the Summer after her pregnant mum was rescued from a house with dozens of other dogs, who were not being properly cared for.


The film also stars the familiar face of inspector Anthony Joynes, from the RSPCA Dog Rescuers programme, Tess MacPherson-Woods, the RSPCA social media manager, campaign manager Claire Williams, press officer Lucy Cooper, and digital producer Alec McCartney and Chris Southall and Lee Holmes, who work in facilities support at the RSPCA.


Last December, the RSPCA received 51,000 calls - that’s one call every minute, with one report about an abandoned animal every hour. The charity took 70 rescue animals into RSPCA care every day and as we were in lockdown last year, these figures are expected to rise this Christmas. 


RSPCA rescue teams will be out in all weathers this winter, rescuing animals from abuse, neglect and suffering.  To Join the Christmas Rescue and help our rescuers be there for the animals in need, please visit

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published