For many Christmas is a time of relaxing, over-indulging and putting day-to-day stresses to one side.
But for selfless volunteers at rescue centre Pendle Dogs In Need, it was an entirely different story.
Instead of parties and pleasantries, it was a festive season of heartache and horror - as they took in a record number of unwanted dogs in need of a loving home.
Each of the eight pets rescued between December 23rd to the New Year was said to be in poor health, with some malnourished and others riddled with fleas.
It is believed that some are unwanted Christmas presents, while others have been considered part of a seasonal clear-out.
Nurse Paula Knowles (47), who set up Pendle Dogs In Need in April with primary school deputy headteacher Sharon Ashley, said: “It has been absolutely manic, and one horror story after another. Each dog has been in a bad condition - it’s heartbreaking.
“We have not stopped and we have not had a Christmas, any of us. None of us have been out for a drink because we daren’t. We are just waiting for the next one to come in.
“There has been a massive difference to usual. We can see two to three dogs a week, if that, normally, and sometimes it can be just four in a month.”
And Mrs Ashley (47), of Millbeck Lane, Kelbrook, added: “We figured there would be a bit of a rush, but we never thought it would be as busy as it was.”
Each dog rescued from Pendle Dogs In Need, which is expected to become a charity in the next few months, is taken into a foster home.
After being assessed in a home environment by an experienced foster carer, the dog is then ready to be
adopted and cared for in a “forever” family.
According to Miss Knowles, of Victoria Street, Barrowford, the animals taken in over Christmas are already showing signs of improvement.
She added: “It is surprising how quickly they turn around with the right people.
“We have a fantastic and experienced team of fosterers who are called Team PDIN. Seeing the dogs develop makes it all worthwhile. I think we cry more when we see the happy ending.”
And Mrs Ashley said: “We never ever anticipated it would be like this. It is not just the influx of dogs, it is the people who have helped us - that has been gobsmacking.”
For more on this story see Leader Times Newspapers.