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Rufus the 55 kilo dog earns celebrity status

PUBLISHED: 17:32 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 15:20 07 September 2010

Rufus Giant Doggie celebrity & owner Michael Stavrides @ The Fine Art Gallery, 25 Devonshire Street, Marylebone.

Rufus Giant Doggie celebrity & owner Michael Stavrides @ The Fine Art Gallery, 25 Devonshire Street, Marylebone.

A giant dog has risen to celebrity status in Marylebone and will soon have its own internet site. Rufus, a 55 kilo Pyrenean mountain dog, is so striking that he regularly draws crowds of adoring admirers wanting their photograph taken with him. He measure

A giant dog has risen to celebrity status in Marylebone and will soon have its own internet site.

Rufus, a 55 kilo Pyrenean mountain dog, is so striking that he regularly draws crowds of adoring admirers wanting their photograph taken with him.

He measures four foot long and three foot high, but standing on his hind legs the handsome beast is closer to 6ft - the size of a small donkey.

His owner, Michael Stavrides, said when he takes Rufus for his regular walk along Marylebone High Street drivers will pay to park just for the chance to stop and say hello.

The 50-year-old art dealer said during the past three years Rufus's picture has been snapped more than 2,000 times by complete strangers.

One young woman, Ruby Dosanjh, 30, who works at Regent's College, was so taken with the massive canine she decided to start a group in his honour on social networking site Facebook.

"He's so popular in the area I thought it would be a good idea for him to have his own Facebook page where people can post their photos with him," she said.

"I had my picture taken with him and then I found out that two of my friends already had photos with him as well.

"He's just gorgeous and stands out from every other dog."

With his mass of fluffy white fur and doleful brown eyes, Rufus is a particular hit with children.

Some of his more devoted young fans have even been known to send holiday postcards telling him how much they miss him.

There are even plans to put his charms to good use for the Make a Wish Foundation - the UK charity that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.

The idea is that he will visit poorly children in hospital in the hope of cheering them up.

Mr Stavrides said bought Rufus as a puppy for his son from a breeder in Wales, three and a half years ago.

"My son fell in love with him at the time," he said.

"He's gets in the way a bit now when my son plays football because he likes to lie across the goal.

"But we'd never get rid of him. He's a celebrity in the local area and he's with us for life.


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