Alison Hammond gets thumbs-up from For the Love of Dogs fans

for the love of dogs with alison hammond
For the Love of Dogs fans applaud Alison HammondMultistory Media - ITV

Alison Hammond's first episode as the new presenter of For the Love of Dogs aired on ITV this evening (April 16).

It's been 13 months since the death of Paul O'Grady, who fronted the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home docuseries for 11 years, and Hammond's tenure began with a fitting nod to O'Grady's legacy: A pooch was captured gazing at a memorial plaque outside the rescue centre's doors.

Even though her involvement led to some backlash upon its confirmation, it seems the majority of social media users enjoyed Hammond's work on the whole.

for the love of dogs with alison hammond
Multistory Media - ITV

Related: Paul O'Grady honoured by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

Across her debut episode, the This Morning and Great British Bake Off star was introduced to a newborn puppy named Oscar, who'd been discovered in a bin, as well as 9-year-old cocker spaniel Nelly.

Unfortunately, Nelly's owner had to give her up (for unspecified reasons), leading to an on-screen vet later diagnosing her with neurogenic dry eye. In the end, her left eye was removed.

Writing on social platform X/Twitter as these heart-tugging scenes played out, For the Love of Dogs viewers were impressed by the new face of the show.

One viewer wrote: "Alison had tough boots to fill after Paul's passing but I think she did a great job!" Another commented: "Nobody will be better [than] Paul but must say Alison got the touch think he will be happy looking down on his show seeing it in safe hands."

alison hammond meets nelly in for the love of dogs with alison hammond episode1
Multistory Media - ITV

Related: Bake Off - Where to buy Alison Hammond's outfits

A third person summarised: "Well I watched #fortheloveofdogs with a little trepidation. No one could replace Paul O'Grady but although it was different it was actually fine, Alison did a good job and the dogs seemed to like her which is good enough for me."

And so the appreciation continued...

Speaking recently about remarks from some that the host of For the Love of Dogs should be a dog owner, Hammond described this as a "flawed argument".

"I was actually surprised with how much [criticism] I got for doing the show," she said.

"I could understand in the sense that Paul was so loved, and people were saying: 'How can she do Love of Dogs when she doesn't have a dog? How does she love dogs when she doesn't have a dog?'

"It's like saying: 'How can you love children when you haven't got kids?'"

For the Love of Dogs airs on ITV.

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