TWO heartbroken dogs who lost their owner to Covid-19 have found a loving new home, thanks to a good Samaritan.

Neil Ruch, a paramedic from Canvey who died from coronavirus in May, was a devoted owner to rescuee dogs Alfie and Sam.

But when Neil died, his family - who had too many dogs to take the pair in themselves - launched an appeal to find them a new owner.

Now Graham Whitehouse, 79, has taken on the role, saying it feels like a huge responsibility as they were “the centre of Neil’s world.”

Graham, from Milford-on-Sea, near Southampton, said: “I didn’t know Neil but everyone knows how much he loved his dogs.

“I saw the appeal from his family to find a new home and I was hooked straightaway.

“Neil adopted them in 2011. Alfie had been taken to the vet to be put down because his old family were bored of him. Neil rescued him from the vets.

“He lived on his own, they meant the world to him. His life revolved around Alfie and Sam.”

Alfie, aged ten, is thought to be a cross between a Jack Russell and another breed, while Sam, aged 11, is believed to be a cross between a Border Collie and an unknown breed.

Neil was told he would not be able to look after both dogs, even if he had recovered from the virus.

Tributes flooded in for the paramedic after his long battle with Covid-19, with the Essex Medical Service saying they will rename their classroom area in his name.

Graham has thanked Neil’s family after they gave him £400 they had fundraised in his honour.

He has used the money to create professional photographs of the dogs which will be given to Mr Ruch’s family and the Essex Medical Service.

Graham added: “They’re a joy to be around, they’re really well trained. They’re fabulous boys.

“They’ve been here a month now and they’ve settled in really well.

“Having a dog at my age is brilliant.

“I’ve been walking more than I ever would.

“I wanted to get a dog but lockdown got in the way. It’s really nice to be looking after Neil’s dogs. They’re so sweet. They’re inseparable.

“They play and eat together. They’ve lived with each for nine years.

“His family have been so kind and generous.

“I bought so many toys and bedding.

“I was expecting a starter pack, but it was ridiculous.”