Paul O’Grady joyful in posthumous airing of his return to Battersea dogs home

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Paul O’Grady has been seen as joyful upon returning to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in a new series of his much-loved ITV show, which was filmed prior to his death.

The presenter, who died “unexpectedly but peacefully” last month at the age of 67, visited the charity for the latest series of Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs, which launched on Thursday evening.

The programme, which sees O’Grady meet dogs brought to the centre in need of medical treatment, training and ultimately new homes, opened with a voiceover by O’Grady, saying: “We’re back, the kennels are chock-a-block.

“The staff and me are worked off our feet, looking after the latest waifs and strays to come through the doors.”

During the episode, O’Grady, who rehomed five dogs from Battersea, admitted that “over the 11 years I’ve been here, I’ve fallen head over heels quite a few times” before adding “so I’m definitely not taking any more”.

After the statement, the late comedian introduced a giant Newfoundland, named Peggy, in need of life-changing surgery on her back legs, and appeared rather smitten.

In the programme, O’Grady told Shaun the vet: “I’ve got a confession to make, I’m completely in love with this dog. She’s beautiful.”

After learning about the surgery Peggy requires, an ever-cheerful O’Grady could be seen showering the two-year-old stray with love and saying: “It’s a long road ahead for Peggy, but I’m going to be here, for moral support and loads of cuddles.”

At one point, O’Grady, who demonstrated his love for animals – and dogs in particular – throughout his life, told viewers: “It’s amazing the medicinal effect our four-legged friends have on us, they can reduce stress and help you to chill out.”

He added that “some do the complete opposite” and then introduced Grace, a Staffordshire bull terrier and Labrador cross who has a “unique obsession” with water and kept flooding her kennel as a result.

O’Grady helped Grace channel her obsession with water into a more positive form, and found himself soaking wet after entertaining her with a paddling pool and hose pipe.

Finally, the presenter, who started out as a social worker while performing on the London nightclub circuit as the acerbic, platinum wig-wearing Lily Savage, met bichon frise Katie.

O’Grady spent time getting to know the terrified eight-year-old after she was found wandering around in a woodland.

Later in the episode, O’Grady visited Peggy following her surgery and admitted to viewers that “Peggy steals the heart of everyone she meets and I’m head over heels” but parted ways with her after she was rehomed by a family who welcomed the “gentle giant”.

Meanwhile, Grace was rehomed in Kent by a couple who embrace her love of water.

Following the credits, which rolled in silence, the programme ended with a picture of O’Grady and his sausage dog positioned above the years in which the presenter was born and died.

Paul O’Grady: For The Love Of Dogs airs on ITV1 and ITVX.

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