1. ITV Report

Abandoned puppies a 'Christmas miracle' says RSPCA

The litter was left on a doorstep just before Christmas Credit: RSPCA

A litter of sick puppies dumped in a bucket and left on a cottage doorstep in freezing cold temperatures days before Christmas have started to make a recovery.

A homeowner answered a knock on the door to find the pups abandoned in an orange bucket in Halebourne Lane, Chobham, Surrey, on December 14.

The pups are now responding well to treatment Credit: RSPCA

RSPCA officials believe the dogs, lurchers aged around five weeks old, may have been bred to be sold as Christmas presents but dumped when they became ill.

The animals had parvovirus, a potentially deadly virus common among puppy-farmed dogs. They were named after some of Santa's reindeers - Cupid, Dasher, Blitzen, Rudolf, Prancer and Dancer.

The RSPCA now hopes they'll make a full recovery Credit: RSPCA

One pup - Dasher - died of the virus a few days after being found, but the rest of the litter are said to have come along in "leaps and bounds" at RSPCA Millbrook.

Deputy manager Liz Wood said the puppies now appeared to be out of the "danger zone". She said: "They were so lucky they were found, as if they had been there too much longer, they would have all died.

"They have some skin and eye infections, but are responding well to treatment so we are hoping they will go on to make a full recovery."