England football striker and renowned dog lover Michael Owen today carried the Olympic flame through Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in London.
On day 66 of the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay the flame paid a special visit to the world famous London charity, and was greeted by Battersea’s famous doggy Guard of Honour of over 50 Battersea dogs.
Michael owns three Staffordshire Bull Terriers and two French Bulldogs, so he was the perfect choice to carry the flame through the animal rescue centre. And in a “first” during the two months the torch has been making its way around the country, Michael as torch bearer was joined by a dog, pictured below.
Picture credit: Clint Images/Battersea
Rory, a four year old Battersea Staffordshire Bull Terrier who is currently looking for a new home, behaved beautifully as the pair ran past an enthusiastic audience of dogs and their handlers.
Michael said: “It has been a real honour to visit Battersea and carry the flame past such a fantastic doggy Guard of Honour with the backdrop of Battersea Power Station. I’m a huge fan of Staffies so was thrilled to meet Rory and he seemed to really enjoy helping me carry the Torch. The atmosphere was brilliant and the dogs behaved so well.”
Battersea Chief Executive Claire Horton added: “Battersea is incredibly honoured to have welcomed the Olympic Torch here today, just days before the Games get under way. We are one of the country’s iconic landmarks and we’re thrilled to be part of the whole Games experience.
“It was so special to welcome Michael here as he is a great friend of the Home. To see him run with the flame and Rory the Staffie, past so many of our homeless dogs, made the day complete. It was wonderful to be able to involve our dogs and give them a taste of the fantastic Olympic spirit that’s exciting the nation.”
Today the torch will travel 36.88 miles through the London Boroughs of Lewisham, Bromley, Croydon, Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth.