A family from Woodingdean who lost their home and seven pets to a fire in January is to rehome an unwanted puppy.
The Leverett family have decided to take on May, a Shitzu-Terrier cross puppy, calling her “a little ray of sunshine at a difficult time”.
The family were left homeless in January after a blaze, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault, claimed the lives of their three dogs, two cats, a rabbit and a gecko.
A Go Fund Me page organised by the local community generated £6,600 and is being used to help refurbish the house, which they hope to return to by the end of the summer.
Sarah Leverett, a receptionist at Coastway Vets in Portslade, found May after the puppy was rejected by its mother and signed over to Coastway’s Kemptown branch by their owner.
Sarah said: “I wasn’t looking for a puppy but May found me.
“After losing our pets in such difficult circumstances I wasn’t sure about getting another dog so soon, because I was worried about getting too attached and then something else happening.
“But I discussed it with my family and we decided to offer May a home.
“I’m so glad we did because she’s helping all of us by being a little ray of sunshine at a difficult time and she has given us something to feel positive about.
“May can’t replace what we’ve lost, but she’s already an important part of our family.”
Sarah was at work when she received the call about the fire, and she says her colleagues have been extremely supportive and caring.
She said: “When the call came in that my house was on fire, I was in total shock.
“Our head nurse, Lizzie Ferandji, was exceptionally kind and drove me home, and she started the fundraising page for me.
“Colleagues also called me regularly to check if I was okay or ask if I needed anything, including team members from Kemptown. I appreciate all the support they gave me.”
“My husband was at home that day but left just after 2pm to collect our youngest son from school.
“When he got home an hour later the house was up in flames and the fire brigade were already in attendance.”
Sarah, her husband Simon and sons Luke, 20, and Daniel, 15, are in temporary accommodation while work is carried out on the house.