Happy Christmas Give a Dog a Home, and thank you for finding me my forever home and for helping lots of my friends. I'm so happy every day, I love my new family and they love me so much too. I have a big sister called Lily, she is very patient and has taught me loads. Love from Penny (I was called Princess in Cyprus) xxxx
I tried everything I could but my mission proved too difficult. I still think of that sweet dog and pray she is fed and safe beneath her beach hut.
So when I discovered ‘Give a Dog a Home UK’, the incredible work the team does in helping overseas dogs really resonated with me. After speaking with Lynne and completing my home-check via Jackie, I received my first Romanian delivery - Jez, the wonder dog!
Shaking, skittish and smelly, I had to carry him from the van into my home. Jez couldn’t trust me and rightly so. He’d been rescued from a Romanian death camp and had lived a hellish existence through no fault of his own.
We took our first night slowly. He’d been used to surviving by himself so it was important not to impose on his space. Slinking low with big, frightened eyes, Jez eventually crept towards me with his tail wagging nervously. He could sense I wished him no harm but a friendly human? Really?! It’s difficult to comprehend what must have been going on in his head that night.
Fast forward 24 hours and after a silent night’s sleep in his crate Jez was playing with his toys, racing around the house and already coming out of his shell. He followed me everywhere and over the next couple of days we experienced many “firsts” together. Jez had his first shampoo wash, went on his first walk using a lead and, for the first time in his four-year life, was learning to trust a human.
As I type this Jez is curled up and snoring under my right arm. He has slotted into our home like an old friend and even mastered a few new skills, such as “sit” and his toilet training. He’s still a little wary of strangers, sometimes ducking when people go to stroke his head too quickly - the memories of being struck in his former life. Loud noises and sudden movements continue to challenge him. Yet he surprises us every day by revealing a new side to his character and playful personality, rewarding us with kisses that signify just how far he has come.
These are not normal dogs. Life has dealt them a bad hand but despite everything they still have the ability to love and be loved in return. That’s the beauty of dog rescue. You open your heart just a little for these vulnerable dogs and they reward you with bucket loads of joy and loyalty in return.
Now my admission: it’s been less than a month since Jez arrived and we have succumbed to adoption. Fostering has not gone to plan this time, but helping to heal Jez’s wounds continues to be an incredibly gratifying experience. Yes, I am a “failed fosterer” but really there is no failure here – Jez is transforming into a loving pet and is transforming our lives, too. This special dog deserves his spot on our sofa and in our hearts.
25 years ago my wife Alice and I suddenly had to find homes for our two much loved dogs for reasons which were completely out of our control. Since then we have been dogless. This year I was able to give up work and it didn’t take us long to decide the time was right for us to finally be able to enjoy dog companionship once more. I can’t quite remember how we went from there to fostering a rescue dog from Romania but that is exactly what happened.
Captain arrived at my door three weeks ago today. He was clearly a bit stressed out and to tell you the truth, he wasn’t the only one. I hadn’t slept much having spent the night imagining countless disastrous scenarios: What if he hates me? What if he bites me? What if he manages to find an escape route and devours my neighbour's chickens? In hindsight, I realise that these concerns were borne out of anxiety; I was so determined for things to go well that it felt like I was going on a first date! My worst fear, ridiculous as it may sound, was that he would somehow get into my bedroom in the middle of the night and I would wake up from a deep sleep and find him staring at me (I’ve obviously watched too many ‘monster’ movies!).
The sun was shining when Captain arrived. I thought he might appreciate stretching his legs and a bit of peace and quiet so I took him to the back garden and attached a long rope to his lead. He unexpectedly bolted! He sprinted all round the garden looking for a way out. One section of the garden fence is slightly lower than the rest and he kept going back there looking at the top of it and I could tell that he was wondering if he could get over it. Although I was at the other end of the rope, he didn’t pay much attention to me in these first uncertain minutes. After a while Captain came to realise I wished him no harm and settled down. I followed the advice I’d been given and didn’t approach him for fear of spooking him again and instead gently tossed him a biscuit. His reaction was to pounce on it, dig a hole and bury it. I guess this was something he learned to do in his previous life when he wouldn’t have known where his next meal was coming from.
Following his somewhat dramatic arrival, I’m pleased to say, the most surprising thing since has been the speed at which he has relaxed and adapted to life with us. By the end of that first day he was wandering around the house and garden and enjoyed being petted by us. He followed me like a shadow and cried a bit when I left the room so I stayed up with him into the early hours until he was sleeping peacefully in his crate.
Captain continues to grow in confidence and is becoming more at ease with each passing day. For me the best thing is that he has learned to trust me. For example, the other day I tried to get him into my car but he wasn’t having it. Alice then took his lead and held him at the passenger door. Once I was in the driver’s seat he was happy to join me and remained
Give a Dog a Home
Give a Dog a Home, helps find homes for rescue dogs from abroad.