Dougie is a dog of mystery; people continuously wonder what breed he is. Could you tell he is a German Shepherd crossed with a Staffy?
He had severe separation anxiety in his previous home and was very nervous of new experiences. He pulled badly on the lead and his owner struggled to handle him due to a severe arthritis condition. In 2013, he came for a little help, he was such a sweetheart, Dougie nearly became a ‘keeper’ or a ‘foster fail’, he had character and was very loveable but he and my female Shepherd didn’t always see eye to eye. Things could be a little competitive between them.
Through my friends Pat and Ian at the RSPCA, a wonderful home was found, his new owners were at home mainly during the day and happy to work with his separation anxiety problems. His lead pulling gradually improved. He now lives very happily enjoying long walks and the continuous wonder from everyone he meets.
I was approached by a charity called Hungary Hearts, a charity that aims to rehome dogs from ‘kill centres’ in Hungary. Some of these dogs have been mistreated or mentally and physically abused. Jack was one of these unfortunate souls, found after he had his eye taken out in an awful incident with a gang. He was taken to kennels and suffered extreme stress and anxiety, spinning and self harming his tail.
When he came he seemed in a state of shock but did very well adjusting to living with us. Gradually his tolerance to being handled increased, my Shepherd Rhea helped him become more confident and they spent a lot of time together. He could be reactive and his behaviour spiral quickly out of control but the outbursts became less and eventually a lovely person and her partner came forward to offer him a permanent home. After a few ups and downs they managed him very well, he loves to run and enjoys participating in canicross with his mum. His erratic behaviour rarely surfaces now and he is a much loved member of his own safe family.
My beautiful wonky adorable Albie, he completely took my heart, filled it with love and broke it, all within a year. On the 5th of July 2012 Albie came to the vets as a stray, tossed aside on the streets with an open, weeping knee wound, he was dehydrated and emaciated. We thought he was a boxer at first, but it became obvious he was an American bulldog, just a very poorly put together one. He'd had an operation to fix a knee joint problem and been dumped before it had chance to improve. I completely fell for his soft nature, just the feel of his warm body and soft hair, knowing I could give him comfort after being left in such poor condition on the streets, with no one to love him, it gave me great fulfillment. I endeavoured to do everything in my power to fix his broken body.
The main problem were his knees and he went to a specialist centre to have an operation to fix the best one in a permanent position. It was radical surgery and he did very well learning to use it again. After several visits for hydrotherapy to strengthen his limbs, we were due to consider repairing the other knee but sadly he ingested a foreign body after going on the rampage in my house one time when he was left. Despite his withered backend, he was very strong on his front, he could pivot completely, taking all his weight on his front legs. He used his head and shoulders to barge through a fixed stair gate when I was out for a short while and made it upstairs where he ate part of a shoe and some of the contents of a bin. He vomited up the shoe strap and didn’t show any signs of ill health from his misadventures but a week later suddenly became critically ill. I had to make the decision to put him to sleep during an exploratory operation, he had peritonitis as his small intestine had perforated in several places. The pain relief he had been on could have been a contributory factor in his condition.
I nurtured him through so much, he had so many health issues but he was absolutely adorable and crept inside my heart. The flip side of having such serious health issues, meant he became very dependent on my care and became anxious when left. We worked on it, but he was never really happy not being with me. I will always blame myself, however much I try to reconcile that I did everything for him, that I made him happy with love, I couldn't save him from himself. He died a year to the day that he came.
Another of Hungary Hearts survivors, in 2016, Bodri, a ‘Mudi’ cross (small herding breed) came to this country but proved to be a little reactive towards people he didn’t know and he was given up by his new owners before having much of a chance to settle. When he came, Bodri immediately made a bond with my little dog Hera, took a day to bond with me but unfortunately waged an unlikely war with my old Lab, Remus. It took a few weeks before it became obvious they wouldn’t tolerate each other, I’m presuming he must have had a bad experience with another large black dog previously as Remus was not a fighter unless provoked with some serious attitude!
My lovely friend Helen took him on and worked a small miracle with his reactive behaviour, he has become a very good boy and loves his Mum and has learnt to love his small family once he got used to them all. I still see him regularly and when he comes into the vets we have a special cuddle as he gets very scared. He has remembered me as his initial protector, even though I couldn’t ease the way for him and Remus to be friends.