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The Dog That Changed Me

To celebrate National Rescue Dog Day, we spoke to owners to find out more about why they chose to adopt not shop, and the journey they've been on with their rescued dogs.


Laura, Patsy and Bruce


What’s your dogs' name, age and breed?


Patsy, she's a 6 year old French Bulldog and Bruce, an 8 year old English Springer Spaniel.


Where did you rescue your dog from?

Bruce came from Cardiff Dog's Home and I rescued Patsy from the veterinary practice I work at. She was brought in from a 'backyard breeder' who had bred from her when she was way too young. She came in requiring a caesarian section, but sadly none of the puppies survived and the owner couldn't pay the vet bills so ended up leaving her at the surgery and didn't come back for her!


What made you decide to rescue a dog?


Working in animal care, I was aware of how many beautiful dogs are sitting in rescue shelters and kennels waiting to be rehomed. I didn’t want to contribute to the ever-growing population of dogs and encouraging the breeding of more by going to a breeder.


How did they settle into their new home with you?


It was like Patsy had always been here! She had a lot of health issues to start with but settled right in.


We had a few teething problems with Bruce on the other hand - he wanted to sleep on his crate rather than in it. He was very anxious but he soon settled in with lots of love and exercise.


Were there any unexpected challenges with rescuing?


Yes, there were a few health issues with Patsy that we had to work through to do with her skin and reproductive system. She also had some behavioural issues as it seems she missed out on early socialisation as a puppy.


With Bruce, we found he was very nervous when we tried to clip his nails. Also, when playing with a friend’s dog, he got bowled over and dislodged a metal screw in his leg that we didn’t know was in there!


What have been the highs and lows of rescuing?


As for highs, it's been lovely watching Patsy's personality emerge as she went from strength to strength as she got back to full health. Lows... it was a challenge when we realised she isn’t very good in some situations with other dogs... or when she wants to kill the broom or hoover!


It's been so worthwhile watching Bruce flourish into a beautiful, attention-seeking, hyper spaniel! The lows have been when he panics in certain situations that he thinks might be painful - we've had to work hard to make him feel comfortable enough to clip his nails etc.


Do they have a favourite toy?

Patsy's is my son’s football! Bruce's is tennis balls, footballs... anything ball shaped!


What’s their naughtiest habit?


Trying to pop my son’s football... and chewing wooden toys into a million pieces.


Bruce's is sitting in front of me when I'm on the phone and barking until I get up to sit with him... or the same if we stop stroking him! Also, eating anything he can get his face round - opening the kitchen bin is his new trick!


What advice would you give to someone looking into rescuing a dog?


Do your homework - make sure you’re still selecting an appropriate size or breed of dog for your situation and family make-up and go for it. Know that you can ask for help and be sure to get behavioural issues nipped in the bud ASAP.


Remember, rescue dogs won’t be completely themselves for the first few weeks as they settle in, it’s only after that settling in period that they’ll show they’re true colours. Don’t be lulled into thinking you’ve got the world’s best behaved dog as there will almost always be some issues lurking beneath the surface waiting for you to work through. It's so rewarding when you come out the other side!


Chloe and Buddy


What’s your dog’s name? Was that their ‘original name’ or did you change/choose it?


His 'original' name was Joker, but we changed it to Buddy


How old is Buddy?


1 and a half!


Where did you rescue Buddy from?


RACE Romanian, a fantastic charity rescuing dogs from the streets of Romania.


What made you decide to rescue a dog?


We’ve always wanted to rescue, as there’s so many poor dogs out there who need help! We’d also previously rescued two cats, and it’s been so rewarding.


Do you know what he is?


We think he’s got some sort of terrier in him... and definitely a speedy breed! People we meet always have different ideas of what he could be!

How did he settle into his new home with you?


Buddy settled in so quickly! Me and him spend literally every second together, he’s like my shadow.


Were there any unexpected challenges with rescuing?


Buddy definitely has some quirks! Such as chewing... the boy loves to chew! We’ve still not found a toy for him that lasts more than an hour! He’s also definitely more comfortable with women than men, which might have something to do with his history.


What have been the highs and lows of rescuing?


The highs have definitely been seeing how far he’s come on! From not wanting to ever go for a walk, to being the most confident doggie in the park! Also, the moment when the rescuers first handed tiny Buddy over to me, and he clung on for dear life, will always be so special.


There aren’t many lows. He did make a runner a few times, although it was always when I was out, so he was probably trying to find me, which breaks my heart!


Does Buddy have a favourite toy?


Socks. Especially ones you’ve just taken off!


What’s his naughtiest habit?


Chewing! And stealing the cats food.


What advice would you give to someone looking into rescuing a dog?


If you have the time to give, go for it! It can be a lot of hard work, but it’s so worth it.


Katie and Buddy


What’s your dogs' name, age and breed?


Buddy (previously Briar), is a 2 year old Yellow Labrador Retriever.


Where did you rescue Buddy from?

We rescued him from training kennels - he was failed as a search dog and needed a home - we’re actually his 4th!

What made you decide to rehome a dog?

We knew we didn’t want a puppy and would rather help a dog in need.

How did he settle into their new home with you?

He took some adjustment - he'd lived in kennels most of his life so things like the hoover and kettle and even seeing his reflection in mirrors freaked him out. We also needed to work on his toilet training from scratch.

Were there any unexpected challenges with rescuing?

It took him a long time to settle down - which he finally has! He also can be selective about other dogs and doesn’t like ones he doesn’t know being too 'in his face', so that’s definitely brought its challenges.

The highs are knowing he's come from many homes and kennels to a loving, forever family home. He definitely enjoys the pampered life!

Does he have a favourite toy?

His favourite toy is anything squeaky and his pheasant

What’s his naughtiest habit?

Shredding the post!

What advice would you give to someone looking into rescuing a dog?

Make sure you know as much about their background as possible including breed and how that will fit around your lifestyle. If you do this, you can then prepare for any potential behaviours and be prepared for a long adjustment period! It is all so rewarding and worth it once they are settled in and used to your way of life!


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