Marcus bravely creeps closer, tail slowly wagging, snuffling at my leg, but nervously flinches when I make too sudden a movement.
But the fact he is still prepared to trust humans at all after what he and his companion, Steena, have been through, says much to commend the nature of dogs.
Just three weeks ago, this sweet-natured pair of English Pointer crossbreeds were only days away from being put to sleep at a dog pound in Cyprus.
However, they got a last-minute reprieve when Mary Thomson, owner of Sawmill Kennels and Cattery, at Mellerstain, answered a plea to foster them.
The canines had been abandoned at a factory in Cyprus and ended up in a pound with their puppies. The pups were rehomed, but Marcus and Steena were deemed too traumatised and placed on the destruction list. However, Mary agreed to take them and emergency fundraising covered the costs of a flight to Glasgow.
It was local equine expert Sylvia Loch who had contacted Mary. Sylvia’s daughter, Allegra, who lives in Suffolk, has adopted strays from Cyprus and Greece. Facebook groups she then set up to find homes for abandoned puppies and older dogs from Greece, Cyprus and Romania now have more than 3,000 followers.
Mary, a former SSPCA rescue centre manager, said: “They’re lovely dogs but they have to be homed together – we can’t separate them. As far as we know, they’ve been together all their lives. They’ve been through a lot, so are going to need a bit of work and a home with lots of understanding.”
Puppies Available For Rehoming, Rescue Or Adoption in UK/Europe is the name of Allegra’s Facebook-sharing platform for rescue dogs.