David Cameron praised the "fantastic" work of volunteers at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home as he was given a tour of the site, but struggled to contain one new canine friend who made a bid for freedom as the Prime Minister held him.
The Prime Minister was greeted by a guard of honour made up of nine dogs awaiting rehoming.
Among them was Yorkshire terrier Bertie, who arrived at the centre three days ago after being found wandering the streets of London.
After remarking that he appeared "good-natured", the little dog was passed to the Prime Minister - but soon wriggled out of his arms.
It was Mr Cameron's first visit to the home, although Larry, the Downing Street cat, came from Battersea.
Mr Cameron had better luck when he spent a few minutes playing with Phyllis, a mongrel who has been at the centre since June after being found roaming around a Marks & Spencer car park.
- See the Battersea Dogs and Cats home gallery of dogs needing home here.