Norfolk rooftop dog becomes a celebrity

Five-year-old Axel spends most of his time asleep when he is on rooftops

For Axel, the sky is the limit when it comes to his affection for his master.

The five-year-old dog clambers up ladders to be alongside owner Richard Haughton, who is a thatcher in Norfolk.

Axel, a Newfoundland cross, is currently something of a celebrity in Scottow, near North Walsham, where he can be seen on top of the Three Horseshoes pub as Mr Haughton's team put on a new roof.

Mr Haughton said: "We've had 200-300 photos taken of him in the last few days. Our customers love him, he's very much part of the team."

Six-week-old puppy

Mr Haughton, 33, from Witton, near North Walsham, has worked as a thatcher since 1995.

He said: "Axel was a six-week-old puppy without a home. I was going to take him to the animal rescue centre, but he's been with me ever since and hasn't missed a day's work in the last five years."

Axel, weighing in at seven stone (44kg), patrols the roof where Mr Haughton's team are working in all weathers. His vantage point in Scottow is around 40ft (12m) off the ground.

Mr Haughton said Axel's ability to climb ladders came as quite a surprise.

"We were sitting eating a packed lunch. Axel was on one side of the scaffolding, we were up over the ridge on the other and he managed to come up the ladder.

"We saw him up on the ridge - basically he thought he was going to get some food - and he's been up with us all the time ever since.

Axel with thatchers on the roof Axel has yet to learn how to climb down the ladders

"He sits on the ridge and moves along it as we're working. We always have to bring him down though. He hasn't worked out going down the ladder yet."

'Undo the curtains'

Axel has become a firm favourite with Mr Haughton's customers, a number of them offering him breakfast and a place by the kitchen fire during the winter months.

Mr Haughton said: "Our customers are all amazed. Lots of people come and bring their children to watch him, he gets on the with everybody so well.

"The customers find it highly amusing, though sometimes they get a bit of a shock as if he's been up on the scaffold with us all morning the first thing they see when they undo the curtains is Axel's head outside the window."

Charlie Tedder, part of Mr Haughton's team, said working with Axel is a great privilege.

He said: "He's a lovely guy to have around, such a good dog - he keeps an eye on us, he's like a site manager.

"He'll let you know when he wants to come down - he'll come to the top of your ladder and look at you, wag his tail - so we'll pick him up and bring him down."

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