A puppy in Coventry who was described by an RSPCA inspector as one of the thinnest dogs she had ever seen has been spoiled with toys and treats donated by a kind-hearted couple who live 175 miles away.

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Helen and Steve McGuirl, of Darlington, read about five-month-old lurcher William online and decided they wanted to do something to help him while he is in the care of the RSPCA.

When he was taken into the RSPCA’s Coventry Animal Centre last month, he was severely emaciated and unable to stand up. RSPCA inspector Nicky Foster said in 10 years of doing the job, he was one of the thinnest dogs she had ever seen.

William has since been treated by a vets and is improving every day. He is now being fostered by an RSPCA volunteer.

Helen, 46, who runs a garage with her husband Steve, said: “I grew up with lurchers and have such a soft spot for them. So when I read about William online, it made me so angry that someone had done this to him. I just had to do something.

“We have never done anything like this before but he has become the talk of our town since we started to collect for him. He has touched a lot of people’s hearts.

“It started off with us putting a pot in our garage to

collect money for him. Customers would ask, ‘Who’s William?’ and Steve showed them a picture of William and told them his story.”

The couple raised £200 in donations and members

IMG-20151029-WA0000.jpgof the public in Darlington have donated toys, treats, blankets and coats for William.

Helen said: “Everyone has been so kind, including our customers, family and friends. People were still giving me stuff on Wednesday to bring down for him.

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Yesterday (Thursday), Helen and Steve drove four hours from their Darlington home to meet William after the RSPCA’s Coventry branch arranged a meeting.

Helen said: “It was so wonderful to meet William and the amazing staff and volunteers at the Coventry branch. We had a great time and were made to feel very welcome. We think that William is an inspiration and he has such a willing to live.

“After this experience, we are going to get in contact with the RSPCA near our home in Darlington to offer fostering.”

Lorraine Bryan-Arnold, deputy manager of the Coventry branch, said: “We are so thankful for everything that Helen and Steve have done. When we heard about their fundraising and collecting, we were so touched. We’re pleased that we could arrange for them to meet William.”

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).