RESCUE centre workers have urged more people to adopt dogs – rather than buy expensive puppies.

It comes as the founder of Swindon-based SN Dogs has told how one 12-year-old dog has been waiting for eight months for her “forever home”.

Star, a 12-year-old collie, was one of seven border collies rescued in January after their owner died suddenly.

Six dogs have already been rehomed – and now only Star remains.

Jessie Bascombe, SN Dogs founder, said: “She’s set in her ways. She’s not a cuddly dog – but she just needs a chance to settle in and not expect too much from her.”

The “typical collie”, whose favourite game is stalking toys, is currently staying in a foster home – but is looking for a permanent home.

“She needs somebody who has a big garden.”

At the moment the SN Dogs centre, which fosters rescue dogs, has around 10 animals waiting for families to take them on permanently.

The centre will match prospective owners with the right dog. “If there’s a problem we can take the dog back.”

One pensioner recently rehomed a small dog from the centre, Jessie said. When he went into hospital following a health scare, SN Dogs found a foster home to look after the dog.

“Every day he rang, every day asking about the dog. He knew the dog was in safe hands.”

She said she hoped more older people would come forward to foster dogs. “I think a dog helps older people keep their independence.”

The plea comes as researchers suggested that doctors could prescribe dog walking as a way to get older people more active.

Academics from the University of East Anglia and the University of Cambridge tracked the activity levels of more than 3,000 older adults.

In their study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, they found that the fifth of adults who owned a dog were on average sitting down or not moving for half-an-hour less than other adults.

Judy Hible, trustee of Wiltshire and Swindon Ramblers and a locum pharmacist, said: “When I do a medicine review, I ask the person some questions about physical activity. As soon as they say they’ve got a dog, I know they’re doing more exercise.

“Walking is a low impact sport. As long as your legs are working, you can keep walking until you’re a hundred.”

SN Dogs’ Jessie Bascombe, who walks her four dogs daily, added: “It’s just nice to be able to get up, get out and have some ‘you’ time.”