Former Leicester Tigers star Matt Hampson's love for his pet dog has seen him back a £1 million RSPCA appeal.
The 30-year-old, who set up his own sporting foundation after being paralysed from the neck down while training with England under-21s ten years ago, is supporting the Care4Paws appeal to finance a new veterinary suite with state-of-the-art facilities at Woodside Animal Centre in Leicester.
Matt took a tour of the animal rehoming centre on Scudamore Road in Braunstone Frith with his dog Alfie, to see for himself how the new veterinary facility will help thousands of animals every year.
Matt, of Cold Overton, near Oakham, said: "I couldn't imagine if I didn't have Alfie and he was alone in pain with nowhere or no-one to turn to.
"I am right behind this appeal to help Woodside build the veterinary facility they so desperately need to cope with the current spiralling vet costs and sad increase in neglected and mistreated animals.
"This new veterinary facility will be a huge step forward for animal welfare in Leicester and beyond."
The former rugby star launched the Matt Hampson Foundation to support people who have suffered life changing injuries through sport.
Gary Wheway, Woodside's branch manager, said: "The success of the Care4Paws Appeal will ensure our centre continues to provide the best animal care possible, and many people have already been incredibly generous, but we desperately need everyone in the county to get behind the appeal.
"Not only will the vet suite allow the centre to continue to provide top quality animal care it will also remove the need for sick and injured animals to undergo painful and often distressing journeys to and from local vet surgeries."
The appeal was launched last May and the total raised so far is £545,000.
To donate to the appeal visit http://tinyurl.com/Care4Paws.